Economic responsibility in our lifetime

It is only through disciplined practice that an artist or musician can attain freedom of expression…what we might call mastery. Behaviour is much the same. Without responsibility, freedom is impossible. If we all behaved in a responsible manner, external laws and controls on us would not be necessary.

We hear so many calls for freedom these days. Some parties call for “economic freedom” for all people. Others call for free markets without government control. But where are the calls for responsibility? We would be wiser to first call for responsibility, because only responsible actions will allow us the space to have real freedom.

It is no co-incidence that we have become a nation plagued by poverty, unemployment, inequality, crime, violence etc. Apartheid and centuries of colonialism and racism left us with a legacy of inequality that we have failed to address.  It is becoming increasingly clear that freedom without responsibility is not possible:  Our poor are trapped in a cycle of poverty and squalor, and the rest live in walled prisons behind burglar bars, too afraid to walk the streets at night.  Poverty and ever increasing inequality have reached the point where revolution seems increasingly inevitable.

Fortunately, its not too late to change things for the better and to heal and build our great nation.  Our beautiful people are so truly powerful, there is no limit to what we will achieve once we get our values straight.

How we value something is reflected in how we reward each other for it.  It is wise to ensure that work is rewarded according to the quality of the work, the difficulty of the task, how much time and effort is expended, how dangerous it is, and the value that that work adds to a product or company and society in general. In rewarding adaquately, we demonstrate the true value of hard work, and we encourage quality people to do the kinds of work that would most benefit our country, our society, our companies and our people. However, because we have lost our values and use the market as an excuse, most employers reward people according to how desperate their workers are for work and money…the more desperate our workers are, the less we reward them, regardless of the quality of their work or value added.




#SAMarch4Gaza: All expectations exceeded!

Originally posted on marthiemombergblog:

We hoped 100 000 people would join the march for Gaza on 9 August 2014. We were wrong!

While an accurate number of participants is not readily available, a Mail & Guardian photographer in attendance estimated there were “well over 100 000, possible even close to 200 000 people”. There is no doubt that the massive march was one of the biggest, if not the biggest, the city has ever seen.

People came from different parts of the country – Benoni, Lenasia, Johannesburg, Durban, Pietermaritzburg, Port Elizabeth and many other places. When the first marchers were half way up Adderley Street in the city centre, the tail had still to leave the starting point in Keizergracht.


What a day. Imagine all these women, men and children walking side by side, singing together….”we are marching, we are marching, we are marching…..” and chanting “free Palestine!”


Whilst the city started to fill up with people…

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SA EAAPI Statement on Palestine and Israel

31 July 2014

We, as a group of 70 South African ecumenical accompaniers who have monitored and reported human rights abuses in Palestine cannot remain silent at a time like this. We remember how often Palestinians told us that if we as South Africans can have a just freedom, then it must be possible for them too.

South African ecumenical accompaniers have worked side to side with other internationals in occupied Palestine since 2004 in the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine Israel (EAPPI). EAPPI was established by the World Council of Churches in response to a call from the Heads of Churches in the Holy Land. EAPPI provides protective presence to the vulnerable Palestinian communities and supports Palestinians and Israelis working together for peace. We have witnessed multiple and layered injuries and losses by Palestinians whether Christian or Muslim. We value and recognise the safety and dignity of all those in Israel and Palestine. Yet we are not impartial when it comes to international law.

SA-EAPPI is appalled and devastated with the ongoing bombings, shelling and rocket firing in Israel and Palestine. However we absolutely reject any arguments that position the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis as two equal sides. The disproportionate killing of civilians including so many children horrifies us. That people are deprived of shelter, food, electricity, water and the hope of freedom is a source of shame to all who value the sacredness of life and the protection of international law. The current escalation in the conflict is not a war, let alone an act of self-defence, but a punitive, planned, strategic, militant expedition by a regional super-power to deepen Israel’s military occupation of Palestine. Moreover, Israel’s systematic, systemic, institutionalised oppression of the Palestinians that violates international law on a daily basis makes the conflict a-symmetric.

SA-EAPPI endorses the Memorandum to the South African Government issued by the National Coalition for Palestine (NC4P) on 28 July 2014 in Cape Town. In addition, we appeal to:
• South African citizens to not buy any Israeli produce or services;
• all faith communities to critically review their interpretations of sacred texts in a quest to uphold those values and principles that foster the flourishing of life for all;
• South African churches to take a clear and unequivocal stand for justice and a viable peace;
• the South African government to break its resounding silence and to demonstrate to the world what sustained, visible solidarity can mean for the freedom of an oppressed people;
• the United Nations’ Security Council to agree on resolutions to end both the conflict and the occupation, and to appoint an honest and an impartial broker for peace talks between Palestine and Israel; and
• the international society to ensure the consistent implementation of international law.

Meditation by John de Gruchy: Peace in Jerusalem


Matthew 23:37-39
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!

The Old Testament exhorts us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. (Psalm 122:6) Yet, despite this, and the fact that its name means “city of peace,” it has been a centre of conflict for thousands of years, and remains so today. The current war in Gaza may be about Israeli security and the Palestinian demand for the lifting of the Israeli blockade and the release of Hamas prisoners, but it is ultimately about the peace of Jerusalem. A city over which ancient Israel, the Syrians, Persians, Romans, Crusaders, Turks, the British, Germans, Jews, Christians, and Muslims, have all fought, as do Palestinians and Jews today. Jerusalem is the key to peace in the Middle East; it is also a key to peace in the rest of the world. To pray for the peace of Jerusalem is to pray for the peace of the world. But what are we praying for in relation to the present war in Gaza, and why is the United Nations now accusing Israel of crimes against humanity? Was not the State of Israel founded in 1948 in response to the Nazi Holocaust so that Jews might have their own homeland where they could control their own destiny in peace?
I have visited several former concentration camps in Europe built by the Nazi’s to incarcerate and murder those whom they considered undesirables: communists and homosexuals, and millions of Jewish people of whom six million were exterminated simply because they were Jews. This was the result of centuries of anti-Semitism in Europe propagated by Christians. If you have not yet visited the Holocaust Museum in Cape Town then you should do so to be more informed about this sordid crime against humanity. The State of Israel was established in 1948 to make sure that this would never happen again. But does the Holocaust justify what Israel is now doing to the Palestinians whether in Gaza or the West Bank?
The story is a complex one, but simplistically put, the founding of the State of Israel was the result of a war fought by Zionist Jews against British control in Palestine, in order to take control of Jerusalem. And the British Mandate that eventually led to its formal establishment was a European solution to the “Jewish Problem,” but much against the interests of the Palestinian majority living in the country. Naturally there was Palestinian and Arab resistance and even violent attempts to destroy the new state, not helped by some serious errors of judgment. But Zionism prevailed, and Israel has flourished, but at the ongoing expense of the Palestinians, including Christians.
Many Christians in the West think, however, that all this is in fulfillment of biblical prophecy, and therefore they give their uncritical support to the State of Israel. But Israel as the people of God in the Old Testament is about the Jews as a “light to the nations,” a people providing a moral compass in witnessing to God’s justice and mercy; it is not about the modern State of Israel, today pursuing its policies of security through expansion with ruthless power armed to the teeth by the United States. Being critical of Israel today is not being anti-Semitic or anti-Judaism any more than it was when the Jewish prophets called those in power in Jerusalem to account, demanding justice and mercy both in Israel itself and in its dealing with other nations.
More than the five million displaced Palestinians now live in refugee camps in neighbouring countries, and those in Gaza and the West Bank live under Israeli occupation. Israel continually expands its borders in disregard of international law. The situation for Palestinians, especially in Gaza has become intolerable. This has led to the violent reaction led by Hamas, its rejection of the State of Israel, and the launching of indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israeli citizens. Hamas has rejected ceasefires and truces because in the past, despite promises, these have not brought about change; things have only got worse. So the war on Gaza continues apparently unabated. But it is a case of a David versus Goliath, only now David has all the tanks and helicopters and Goliath largely ineffective and inaccurate rockets.
On Tuesday morning I joined thousands of academics around the world in supporting a statement made by almost a hundred Jewish academics in Israel. It reads as follows:
The signatories to this statement, all academics at Israeli universities, wish it to be known that they utterly deplore the aggressive military strategy being deployed by the Israeli government. The slaughter of large numbers of wholly innocent people is placing yet more barriers of blood in the way of the negotiated agreement which is the only alternative to the occupation and endless oppression of the Palestinian people. Israel must agree to an immediate cease-fire, and start negotiating in good faith for the end of the occupation and settlements, through a just peace agreement.
Israelis have every right to live in peace; but the killing of over 650 civilians, with 4,000 more injured, many of them women and children — some of them playing on the beach — and the bombing of schools and hospitals, has turned the war on Gaza into a crime against humanity. Rockets may well be hidden in homes, schools and hospitals. But that does not give Israel the moral or political right to bomb wherever and whatever they choose, and to do so at will. The war has become grotesque and outrageous. But it is also counter-productive. The more Israel acts in this way the greater the resistance not just in Palestine but around the world. The truth is, there is no military solution to the problem, nor will a cease-fire actually solve anything unless the underlying problems are addressed. Conflict will continue, many more lives will be wasted, and the reaction of militants will become more violent. We know that from our own experience in South Africa: the only way forward is to pursue justice with mercy. Former President FW de Klerk said as much to the Israelis on a visit to Israel recently. They have to come to their senses through increasing pressure and diplomacy.

Luke tells us that as Jesus came near to Jerusalem on his way to the cross, he “wept over it, saying, ‘If you, even you, had only recognised on this day the things that make for peace!'” (19:41) Those who challenge Israel today, including many Jews, stand in the shoes of Jesus who wept over Jerusalem because its leaders refuse to recognise the things that make for peace. As we weep for the victims of war in Palestine and Israel, we also pray for peace in Jerusalem, for those who are seeking to make it a just reality, including those Palestinian Christians who witness to the gospel of peace in such terrible times. “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!”

John de Gruchy
Volmoed 24 July 2014

Petition: End relations with Apartheid Israel now!

Petition: End Relations with Apartheid Israel Now

If you support this petition, please write your name in the comments section below

We, the undersigned, respectfully and yet urgently demand that

  1. the South African Parliament debates the current war on the people of Gaza by the Apartheid Israeli regime and adopts a resolution to condemn the attacks on and killing of innocent people and the destruction of property including health facilities, and to call for the termination of diplomatic relations with the State of Israel.
  2. The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation implement the various relevant resolutions formally adopted by the ANC Parliamentary Caucus, the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, the ANC Youth League and the South African Communist Party to recall the South African Ambassador to Israel and to ask Arthur Lenk, Israel’s Ambassador to Pretoria, to return to where he comes from.
  3. The South African Government to give concrete expressions to the numerous calls from civil society, the trade unions,  religious and community leaders – including more than 100 Jewish leaders – to end South Africa’s military agreements/sales to and all economic relations with the State of Israel.

The gap between what civil society and the ruling party proclaim and demand on the one hand and what the government does and appears to be prepared to do, on the other is far too wide!

We expected an elected government to listen to the voice of the people!

We expect a government whose members are deployed to their positions by a specific party to heed the voice of that party – not lobbies for a foreign government – even these lobbies masquerade as the representatives of a specific religious group!

Issued by the National Coalition for Palestine-

Enough is enough!








Kairos to SA Government: Sever Diplomatic and Trade Ties with Israel

Originally posted on marthiemombergblog:

The role of the South African government is unique in the world, given our country’s history of apartheid. Yet it lags behind in its solidarity with the Palestinians. Kairos Southern Africa asks for urgent, decisive action – not statements – in a formal request to the government of the Republic of South Africa:


18 July 2014

To: The Honourable Minister of International Relations Ms Maite E Nkoana-Mashabane
CC: The Honourable Mr. H.T Magama, Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee of International Relations and Cooperation, and the Deputy Director-General for DIRCO c/o Mr Clayson Monyela

Kairos Southern Africa believes that all lives have the same value, and that all violence is destructive. The current and ongoing situation between Israel and Palestine poses a critical test for the international community’s commitment to international law and human dignity.

Any attempt to remain neutral in this kind of conflict is both futile and immoral. Neutrality…

View original 424 more words

The Nonviolent Eucharistic Jesus: A Pastoral Approach

The Nonviolent Eucharistic Jesus: A Pastoral Approach

“Twelve frightened men, who feel that death is hovering over, crowd around the Son of

Man whose hand is lifted over a piece of bread and over a cup.

Of what value is this gesture, of what use can it be?

How futile it seems when already a mob is arming itself with clubs, when in a few

hours Jesus will be delivered to the courts, ranked among transgressors, tortured, disfigured,

laughed at by His enemies, pitiable to those who love Him, and shown to be

powerless before all.

However, this Man, condemned to death does not offer any defense; He does nothing

but bless the bread and wine and, with eyes raised, pronounces a few words.”  François Mauriac


“The Eucharist is not only a mystery to consecrate, to receive, to contemplate and adore.

It is also a mystery to imitate.” Raniero Cantalamessa, O.F.M.Cap.


Outside of Jesus Christ, the Eucharist has no Christian meaning. Everything about it must ultimately be referenced to Him and then through Him to Abba. The same is true of the Christian life. Jesus is the ultimate norm of Christian existence; everything must be referenced to Him. If He is not the final standard against which the Church and the Christian must measure everything in order to determine if it is the will of God or not, then who or what is?

The Ultimate Norm of the Christian Life

What would Christianity or the Church mean for the Christian if Jesus’ Way or teachings

were made subject to, or were measured for correctness by whether Plato, Hugh

Hefner, or the local emperor happen to agree with them? Since for the Christian Jesus

is the Word of God, the Son of God, the Son of Man, the Self-revelation of God: “The

one who sees me sees the Father” (Jn 14:9), since for the Christian He is “the Way and

the Truth and the Life” (Jn 14:6), it is senseless to maintain that the Christian life can

ultimately be modeled on anyone or anything except Jesus. Even the saints must be

measured against Jesus and His teachings to determine what in their lives is worthy

of Christian honor and what is not.


Jesus’ New Commandment Contains the Entire Law of the Gospel

Jesus, Himself, unequivocally commands precisely this when He says, “I give you a

new commandment: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love

one another” (John 13:34). As the one the Church calls “the greatest saint of modern

times,” St. Thérèse of Lisieux, says in her autobiography, The Story of a Soul:

Among the countless graces I have received this year, perhaps the greatest has been

that of being able to grasp in all its fullness the meaning of love…I had striven above

all to love God, and in loving Him I discovered the secret of those other words “Not

everyone who says Lord, Lord shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but the one

who does the will of my Father.” Jesus made me understand what the will was by

the words he used at the Last Supper when He gave His “new commandment” and

told His apostles “to love one another as He had loved them”…When God under the

old law told His people to love their neighbors as themselves, He had not yet come

down to earth. As God knows how much we love ourselves, He could not ask us to do

more. But when Jesus gave His apostles a “new commandment, His own commandment,”

He did not ask only that we should love our neighbors as ourselves, but that

we should love them as He loves them and as He will love them to the end of time. O

Jesus, I know you command nothing that is impossible…O Jesus ever since its gentle

flame has consumed my heart, I have run with delight along the way of your “new



The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “The entire Law of the Gospel is contained in the new commandment of Jesus, to love one another as he has loved us” and that “This commandment summarizes all the others and expresses His [the Father’s] entire will.” Now if, as the biblical scholar, Rev. John L. McKenzie, echoing the understanding of modern Biblical scholarship, says, Jesus’ rejection of violence is “the clearest of teachings” in the New Testament, then that love that is in the Spirit of Christ, that love that is imitative of Christ, that love that is Christ-like, that love that is “as I have loved,” that love which “contains the entire Law of the Gospel,” that love “which expresses His entire will” is a nonviolent love of friends and enemies.


Both Biblical scholarship and a common sense reading of the Gospel tell us that this new commandment of Jesus to “love one another as I have loved you,” is not a throwaway line or an arbitrary insertion of a thought into the Gospel. On the contrary, the new commandment is so placed in the Gospel as to be presented as the supreme and solemn summary of all of Jesus’ teachings and commands. The importance of all this for Eucharistic understanding and Eucharistic unity is this: Jesus’ solemn new commandment is given and proclaimed not on a mountain top nor in the Temple, but, as St. Thérèse notes, at the Last Supper, the First Eucharist.

Poised between time and eternity and about to be pressed like an olive by religiously endorsed, rationally justified and state executed homicidal violence, to which He knows He must respond with a love that is neither violent nor retaliatory, with a love that forgives and that seeks to draw good out of evil, He proclaims, “I will be with you only a little while longer. You will look for me and as I told the Jews, where I go you cannot come; now I say to you, I give you a new commandment: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another” (jn 13:33-34).

Liturgical and Operational Indifference

It is hard to conceive of a more dramatically powerful context to communicate the importance of a truth to people for an indefinite future. Imagine how the world would be today if this new commandment as taught on the first Holy Thursday and lived unto death on the first Good Friday was continuously remembered in Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant Eucharistic Prayers throughout the ages. For one thing, there would be no Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant division of the Church because, whatever the intellectual reasons were that promoted each division and each division of a division, the one thing that predates all of them and postdates most of them is a thoroughgoing liturgical and operational indifference to the new commandment that Jesus proclaims by word at the First Eucharist and by example at the Sacrifice of Calvary.

All the major modern divisions in the Church follow by centuries the Church’s justification of violence and homicide with all the distortion of perspective and spirit that persistence in such activities brings to individuals and communities. And, after each division all of the Churches—minus a few of the ‘Peace Churches’—continue to teach, to endorse and to employ violence and homicide as part of their Christian way. This necessitated that in these Churches, or any subdivision thereof, the Eucharistic liturgy be not too explicit in remembering the details of the Gospel-given history of the Lord’s Supper, of the Lord’s Passion and of the Lord’s Death. Less still could any Church that justifies and participates in violence and homicide afford to be continually Eucharistically emphatic in remembering Jesus’ new commandment given at the Last Supper, and the clear relationship between it and the Way He in fact historically responds to violence and enmity. What one does not underline is what one does not want to remember.

A Eucharistic Prayer that Embodies Nonviolent Love

So until this very day, in the Eucharistic Liturgies of such Churches, a solitary word,

“suffered” or “death,” has normally been quite enough memory, commemoration,

remembrance, or anamnesis for fulfilling the Lord’s Command, “Do this in memory

(anamnesis) of me.” Of course, technically the words “suffered” and “death” are

theologically correct, but are they pastorally sufficient for the sanctification of the

Christian, the Church, and the world? What would the condition of the Church and

hence the world be like today if the Eucharistic Prayers of the Churches of Christianity

had read at their most sacred point, “the institution narrative-anamnesis (remembrance),”

something like the following over the last 1700 years:

…On the night before He went forth to His eternally memorable and life-giving death,

like a Lamb led to slaughter, rejecting violence, loving His enemies, and praying for His

persecutors, He bestowed upon His disciples the gift of a New Commandment:

“Love one another. As I have loved you, so you also

should love one another.”

Then He took bread into His holy hands, and looking up to You, almighty God, He gave

thanks, blessed it, broke it, gave it to His disciples and said:

“Take this, all of you, and eat it: this is my body

which will be given up for you.”

Likewise, when the Supper was ended, He took the cup. Again He gave You thanks and

praise, gave the cup to His disciples and said:

“Take this, all of you, and drink from it: this is the cup of my blood, the blood of the

new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed for you

and for all so that sins may be forgiven.”

“Do this in memory of me.”

Obedient, therefore, to this precept of salvation, we call to mind and reverence His passion

where He lived to the fullest the precepts which He taught for our sanctification.

We remember His suffering at the hands of a fallen humanity filled with the spirit of

violence and enmity. But, we remember also that He endured this humiliation with a

love free of retaliation, revenge, and retribution. We recall His execution on the cross.

But, we recall also that He died loving enemies, praying for persecutors, forgiving, and

being superabundantly merciful to those for whom justice would have demanded justice.

Finally, we celebrate the memory of the fruits of His trustful obedience to thy will, O

God: the resurrection on the third day, the ascension into heaven, the enthronement at

the right hand, the second and glorious coming. Therefore we offer You your own, from

what is your own, in all and for the sake of all…


The explicit inclusion of the memory of Jesus’ new commandment, Jesus’ rejection of

violence, Jesus’ love of enemies, Jesus’ prayer for His persecutors, and Jesus’ return

of good for evil in the Eucharistic Prayer of the Churches at the point of “institution anamnesis”

is not a whimsical or arbitrary insertion of haphazard events from Jesus’

life. This is what happens from the Cenacle to Calvary. This is the memory given to

us to revere by the ultimate historical, theological and pastoral documents on the

subject: the four Gospels.


Maundy Thursday—A Mandate to Love as Christ Loves

The very name for Holy Thursday, Maundy Thursday, comes from the Latin

“mandatum,” which means a command, commission, charge, order, injunction. It

is a direct and exclusive reference to the new commandment given at the Lord’s Supper.

The inclusion of the new commandment in the Eucharistic Prayer is not riding

one’s own theological or liturgical hobby-horse into the Church’s public prayer life.

The new commandment is there from Day One of the Eucharist and it is there in maximal

solemnity and seriousness.

So, also, rejection of violence, love of enemies, and prayer for persecutors are an

irrevocable part of the history, Scripture, and authentic memory of the Sacrifice of

Love on Calvary. Refusing the protection of the sword (mt 26:52), healing the ear of

the armed man who is to take Him to His death (lk 22:51) and crying out for God’s

forgiveness for those who are destroying Him (lk 23:34) is the memory the Gospels

give to humanity of the victimization of Christ. To side-step these authentic Apostolic

memories in order to get to a more profound or holy or “deep” spirituality is

sheer folly. One has to have the humility to accept revelation as God offers it. If one

does not want to prayerfully enter into revelation as presented by God, then one has

no access to revelation; for who but God can author revelation?

Emaciated Revelatory Remembrance Subverts Divine Love

Jesus does not die of a heart attack. He dies when His heart is attacked by human

beings inebriated with the diabolical spirit of justified, religiously endorsed homicide—

and He dies giving a definite, discernible, and consistent response to that satanic

spirit. This reality cannot be insignificant in discerning the Truth of the revelation

God is trying to communicate to humanity for the good of humanity in Jesus. The

Sacrifice of the Cross is not about mere animal pain that is meant to assuage the lust

of a sadistic, blood-thirsty, parochial god. It is about the revelation of the nature and

meaning and way and power of a Divine Love that saves from an Enemy and a menace

that the darkest phenomena of history can only but hint at. To consistently dismiss

and to structurally ignore major facts in the God-given revelatory memory is to

assure that little of what God intended to be communicated by this costly revelation

will be communicated by it. So, while use of an isolated word, “suffered” or “death,”

in the Eucharistic Prayer is theologically passable, pastorally speaking it is emaciated

revelatory anamnesis (remembrance).

However, it does not take much reflection to perceive how these detail-devoid Eucharistic

Prayers—that do not mention Jesus’ new commandment given at the Last

Supper, that do not mention His rejection of violence, that do not mention His

love of even lethal enemies, that do not mention His prayer for persecutors, and

His struggle to overcome evil with good—serve a critical function in amalgamating

Christianity into the local national or ethnic violence-ennobling myths, as a

religious legitimizer. Intentional forgetfulness, structured inattentiveness, and a

cavalier disparaging of Jesus’ teachings of nonviolent love have always been part

of this process of religious validation by evasion. Without this cultivated liturgical

blind spot Jesus could not be drafted as a Divine support person for the home team’s

homicide and enmity.

Amnesia About Truths in Suffering and Death of Christ

It is possible today, as it has been possible for 1700 years, for a normal person to

spend a lifetime listening to the Eucharistic Prayers of all of the mainline Christian

Churches and never apprehend that what is being remembered is a Person—who at

the moments being remembered in the Prayers—rejects violence, forgives everyone,

prays for persecutors, returns good for evil. In other words, in most Christian

Churches, the anamnesis has become an agency for amnesia about truths in the

suffering and death of Christ that if consistently brought to consciousness at the

sacred time of the community’s Eucharist would stand in judgement on a multitude

of community activities, past and present.

The Rev. Frederick R. McManus, Emeritus Professor at The Catholic University of

America and one of the two or three most influential Catholic liturgists of the 20th

Century, writing on this issue says:


The Nonviolent Eucharist is a valuable and viable proposal to augment eucharistic

anaphoras with some direct reference to the ministry and teaching of Jesus concerning

peace and love, with concrete mention of the nonviolence of the Gospel message. The

tradition of variety in the Eucharistic prayer, longstanding in the East and happily

introduced into the Roman liturgy in the light of Vatican II’s mandate to reform the

Order of Mass, is ample reason to study this proposal. The centrality of the mission of

peace and nonviolence in the Gospels needs to be acknowledged in the confession of the

great deeds of God in the Lord Jesus, and the Christian people need to see this essential

dimension of Eucharistic peace in the prayer which they confirm and ratify with their AMEN.


The most renowned moral theologian of the Catholic Church in the 20th Century,

Rev. Bernard Häring, states emphatically that, “It is not possible to speak of Christ’s

sacrifice while ignoring the role of nonviolence.” Yet, this is precisely what most

Christian Churches have been doing in their Eucharistic Prayers since Constantine

first employed the cross as an ensign to lead people into the enmity and homicide

called war.

FACT: Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants all believe they have authentic Eucharistic communion

within their own Churches and often the same belief holds for communion between

different Churches. This, however, has not prevented them from sojourning into slaying their

own and other Christians on a grand scale and then exonerating themselves by some fantastic

contortion of the Gospel.

The Key to Eucharistic Unity and Christian Unity

Now what I am about to suggest I am sure could sound more than farfetched, but

I believe it is the pivotal decision for Christic Truth on which a future of Christian

unity and Eucharistic unity wait. At this time in history, the key to Eucharistic

unity and Christian unity is for Churches— each by whatever process of authority

is internal to it—to compose new Eucharistic Prayers which vividly call to mind

the new commandment, and the actual details of the historic confrontation between

homicidal violence and Jesus’ Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies that took

place at the moment being remembered.

This is not one among many things the Churches can do for peace and unity—it is

what they must do. The present meagerness of Scriptural and historical memory,

while it does not render the Eucharistic Prayers invalid, does make them pastorally

deceptive by omission. Harnessed by nationalisms around the world, Christians do

not hear the broad terms “suffered” and “death” as they were engaged in AD 33 Pastoral

responsibility before God and pastoral integrity before the community insist

that the fitting and right textual adjustments be instituted because there is a radical

spiritual danger that the paucis verbis of the present remembrance in the Eucharistic

Prayers of all the mainline Churches is unwittingly serving those forces which the

Eucharistic Jesus comes to conquer.

It is Archimedes who states that there is a point outside the world that if he could

locate it, he could move the world from it. The “institution narrative-anamnesis”

of the Eucharistic Prayer of the Churches is that spiritual Archimedian point—if the

truth of Christ’s Sacrifice is allowed the fullness of its historical revelatory reality

there. It is not magic I speak of here.

It is the hidden power of the cross that is released when those who are in Christ

respond to the offer of grace through Christ—an offer made through a unique and

unequaled “salvation device” when He said, “Do this in remembrance of me.”

For the leadership of each Church to authorize text clarifications in its Eucharistic

Prayer would not be magic. For said leadership to explain the changes to the community

would not be magic. For each community to consciously stand or kneel daily,

weekly, or monthly in the presence of such a Nonviolent Eucharistic Lord would

not be magic. All would necessitate human choice, but choice aimed at cooperating

more faithfully with the incalculably powerful and mysterious reality of the Divine

Design for salvation in Jesus—choice on behalf of a more authentic expression, experience

and encounter with the Saving Presence of Divine Love as revealed through,

with and in the Nonviolent Eucharistic Christ.

New Time of Christian Agapé

A more truthful Eucharistic Prayer is the starting point of “the fair beginning of a

nobler time.” For certain this is the point from which to move the world into a New

Time of Christic Agapé because, from this point on, the Christian and the Church

will derive their Life from the Bread of Life of an Agapé Meal that is reverently respectful

of the “last wish” of Jesus—that the love (agapé) which He showed His disciples

be remembered and lived in the community as the unbreachable standard of

all Christian interaction. This is the spiritual Archimedian point because there is

infinitely more Power in that Mysterious Meal in the Upper Room than meets the

eye—if the choice is but made to embrace it.

What is equally true is this: there is infinitely more to the new commandment than

meets the mind. As each Church Eucharistically remembers more lucidly the truth

of Jesus’ life of Nonviolent Love, His death in Nonviolent Love, and His resurrection

through Nonviolent Love, Jesus’ new commandment will disclose its depth of

meaning, purpose, and power to the Churches of Christianity in a manner that will

gift them with an experience of new reality. Out of this new reality will come new

insight and new spirit—and from this new reality and new insight and new spirit

will come new words, new phraseology, new language, new thoughts that will resolve

aged and serious problems of truth. Rising from this new level of Eucharistic

fidelity will come a new convergence of Christic Love and Truth that will engender

an existential unity beyond present imagination. It is not magic I speak of

here. Prayer changes people, and people change things, but the “Yes” for a more

pastorally accurate remembrance narrative in the Eucharistic Prayer must first

be given by pastors. As at Nazareth of old, God, who desires to renew the face of the earth,

holds His breath and awaits His chosen servant’s fiat.

Betrayal of Baptismal and Eucharistic Unity

In a 1969 article for the Notre Dame Alumnus, I wrote: “To paraphrase a student slogan,

‘Suppose someone gave a war and the Christians refused to kill or harm one another’…

It would be a giant step forward for humanity if the Church would preach as

a minimum standard of morality, the absolute immorality of one follower of Christ

killing another follower of Christ.”

In 1969 I lost on all fronts with this. For the conservatives it was “just ridiculous”; for

the liberals, it was too absolutist; and for the radicals, it was Christianist and anti-humanist.

But, I know more surely today than I did thirty-five years ago that this is the

truth of the matter. Homicide-justifying Christianity cannot dialogue itself out of

the snare into which it has fallen. It must first unreservedly desire to be obedient

to Jesus’ new commandment; then from this wholehearted desire will issue the

grace, insight and power to do the other tasks committed to the Christian and the

Church. Now, this desire to be faithful to the new commandment would at least seem

to mean that as a dimension of Baptism and Eucharist, the Christian would always

say “No!” if called upon to kill other Christians. He or she would do this in order

not to be reduced to a ‘Judas-Christian’—a betrayer of one’s gift of Baptismal unity in

Christ and a betrayer of one’s task of Eucharistic unity in His new commandment.

How could this not be what Jesus intended for His disciples by His new commandment

at the Last Supper? How could this not be what Jesus intended His followers

to teach, nurture, encourage, foster, energize, and command when bringing people

into Baptismal and Eucharistic unity with Him and through Him with each other

and God? The Church will be the servant it is meant to be to God and to humanity

only to the extent that it is faithful to what it has been commanded to do internally,

namely to “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love

one another.” Absent an unswerving commitment to Jesus’ new commandment, the

Church will become a body tearing itself limb from limb—and anti-sacrament of

disunity, the public incarnational denial of its own truth.

Disunity Emanates from Separation of Divine Mandates

A commandment that is consigned century after century to the doorsteps of oblivion

is a non-thought in a community. Obedience to a non-thought is a patent impossibility.

Yet, it is at the very same Supper that the Lord commands for all time “Do this

in memory of me” that He pronounces for all time His new commandment. How can

these Divine Mandates be honestly separated? How can one be obeyed religiously

while the other is religiously ignored?

It is this separation between the two great Eucharistic Commands that is the source

of and the sustaining power for separation within Christianity—ecclesiastically and

Eucharistically. It is this separation in Christianity between the two great Eucharistic

Commands, whose mutually complementary purpose is to unite, that has reduced

the Church in confrontation with the horrid reality of evil to a coping dinosaur

rather than a conquering Spirit. Disunity disempowers to the detriment of all—except

the Fiend.

For mercy’s sake, the pastors of Christianity must relinquish their stance of calculated

inattentiveness to the unbreakable unity of Word and Sacrament. They must

simply stop managing the Eucharistic Prayer in a manner that spiritually short circuits

the process of repentance—and hence unification—by perpetually camouflaging

the unwanted truth of Jesus’ nonviolent love of friends and enemies and

His command to follow His example of love. There are not two Jesus Christs: the

Eucharistic Christ of faith on one hand, and the historical Jesus on the other. John

Paul II states in his Encyclical, Redemptoris Missio (1990), “One cannot separate Jesus

from the Christ or speak of a ‘Jesus of history’ who would differ from the ‘Christ of

faith’…Christ is none other than Jesus of Nazareth.” The only Jesus Christ present at

the Eucharist, the only Jesus Christ to remember and receive in the Eucharist is the

Jesus Christ who taught and lived unto death a Way of nonviolent love of friends

and enemies and who commanded His disciples to “Love one another as I have

loved you”—and to “Do this in memory of me.”

A Pastorally Truth-Filled Eucharist

Having recently concluded a Century in which more people have been killed by rationally-

justified, religiously-legitimized war, revolution, abortion, and capital punishment

than all the centuries of humanity combined; having recently concluded

a Century that has by the billions mercilessly murdered “the least” (mt 25:14-46)

by squandering on the technology of violence and homicide the most lavish gifts

of intelligence and learning ever granted a century of humanity; having recently

concluded a Century that has brought a planet of humanity to the lip of a cauldron

bubbling with the brew of nuclear plagues and war-generated diseases; having recently

concluded a Century where Christianity has been a major player in all these

evils—it is a moral imperative for Christian pastors to begin to lead their Churches

away from evasive Eucharistic Prayers and into remembering the Way God committed

to them for salvific and revelatory remembrance on Holy Thursday-Good

Friday, 33 A.D.

A pastorally truth-filled Eucharistic institution narrative, as enunciated above, initiated

in the beginning by the authority of each of the Churches for its own community,

is the key not only to the resolution of Church divisions and Eucharistic

disunity, but also the key to that New Pentecost which is the only Power that can

transfigure the relentless agonia humanity has made of history. From a New Holy

Thursday shall shine a New Pentecost because Eucharistic prayer is the most

powerful prayer to which humanity will ever have access. This means that, entered

into with an honest, humble and contrite heart, Eucharistic prayer in all its

forms—adoration, contrition, thanksgiving, and supplication—is the supreme instrumentality

available to the human being and to the human community for their

sanctification—which can only express itself in time and space as deeds of Christ-like

love of God, friends, and enemies.

To love the Eucharist is to live the Eucharist. A Nonviolent Eucharistic Prayer is a

mandatum of Truth, a mandatum of Peace, a mandatum of Love.


(Rev.) Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

Center for Christian Nonviolence

167 Fairhill Drive • Wilmington, DE 19808-4312

phone: 302-235-2925 • fax: 302-235-2926




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