Father John advocates peace, end of war

By Carleen Boyer

Contributing Writer

A Jesuit priest famous for his peace activist movements and his nomination for the 2008 Nobel Peace prize emphasized the importance of looking at peace as a way of life in a talk last week.

Father John Dear gave a talk entitled “The Road to Peace: Practicing Non-Violence in a World of Violence and War” on Tuesday in Trout Auditorium. The talk was sponsored by Catholic Campus Ministry among other organizations.

Though Dear is a Catholic priest, his message does not apply exclusively to people of that religion.

“If peace is life, then life is for every human being whether you are a believer or nonbeliever. I think that’s how he tries to bring it across, as something that every human being has to do,” said Father Fred Wangwe, Catholic chaplain of the University.

Dear began the talk by thanking the audience for its contribution to peace and justice and said to “keep walking the road to peace.” He focused on the need for non-violence and spoke of his efforts to bring peace into the world.

Dear has devoted his life to the efforts of the peace movement, and he described the beginning of his calling. While in Israel, Dear visited a church near the Sea of Galilee and noticed the beatitudes on the sides of the church walls. He recognized the importance of dedicating his life to the efforts of the peace movement and the need “to see life as a journey—one day at a time, one day at a time—on the road to peace.”

In 1985 in a refugee camp in El Salvador, Dear witnessed firsthand the social injustices and violence in this location. In the same camp in November 1989, 28 soldiers stormed the Jesuit house and shot and killed the men there. The soldiers removed the men’s brains from their skulls brains of the men were removed from their skulls, and one survivor named John Sabrino told Dear of his experience.

Dear noted the message he saw in this action: “This is what you get when you think,” he said.

Dear continued with non-violent protests, and in Dec. 1993, snuck onto an air force base. Once caught, Dear was  surrounded by thousands of soldiers.  The air force base contained 75 F-15 bombers, and Dear commented on the message he saw in the Bible. “Love your enemies—don’t nuke them,” he said.

Dear has continued to demonstrate the need for peace in places including New York City and New Mexico. He believes the United States is responsible for a great deal of the violence present in the world, so he focuses much of his work here.

“Everybody would like to live in a peaceful world where there aren’t things like poverty, war and murder, but it’s difficult to get there, so I think he used that ideal world idea as the ultimate goal. His life work is an example of what one person is trying to do to reach that goal” Kate Kromka ‘13 said.

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