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Pax Christi USA Nationwide Civil Disobedience Call

*** FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ***

March 18, 2003

Pax Christi USA Calls for Nationwide Actions of Civil Disobedience;
Vatican Labels Bush War “a Crime against Peace”

“The president’s war is a clear offense to people of faith everywhere” says national coordinator

Erie, Penn. – Responding to what the Vatican last night labeled “a crime against peace,” the largest Catholic peace organization in the United States immediately called on its members and people of faith throughout the world to undertake a massive campaign of nonviolent civil disobedience. Pax Christi USA (www.paxchristiusa.org) joined with hundreds of organizations worldwide in pledging to resist and renounce a war against Iraq by committing acts of civil disobedience at U.S. federal buildings, military installations and transnational corporations. Pax Christi USA is a member of several coalitions working to avert a war against Iraq, including United for Peace, Win Without War, and the Iraq Pledge of Resistance.

“We must not despair. We must not surrender our efforts to the inevitable war mentality that will surely arise in the coming hours and days,” stated Dave Robinson, national coordinator of Pax Christi USA.

Thousands of Pax Christi USA members who had earlier signed a pledge of resistance should war with Iraq become imminent, were contacted by Robinson in an e-mail circulated in the wake of President Bush’s televised speech to the nation Monday night. Robinson encouraged groups and individuals to enact scenarios they have been planning for months. “We must remain strong in our resolve, committed in our actions, and prophetic in our words and deeds,” he stated.

Nationally, U.S. religious leaders will gather together for a witness in Washington DC on Wednesday, March 26. Numerous religious leaders are expected to commit nonviolent civil disobedience to voice their protest of a war that has been labeled unjust and immoral by nearly ever religious body in the world. This action coincides with the arrival of the entire of leadership of Pax Christi USA in Washington DC for an already planned leadership summit.

Robinson noted that “the president’s war is a clear offense to people of faith everywhere” and that several members of the Pax Christi USA National Council have already committed to participating in the religious leaders witness set for March 26. Eric LeCompte, the chair of the Pax Christi USA National Council, extended an invitation to Catholic leaders to join the Washington witness.

“It is clear that the policies of the Bush administration are in complete disagreement with the official pronouncements of the Catholic Church. The policies of this administration stand in stark contrast to the values we hold as Catholics,” said LeCompte. “Neither Jesus nor our consciences will allow us to stand idly by while this administration murders thousands of innocent people in Iraq.”

For information or interviews, contact Johnny Zokovitch at 352-219-8419.

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