WHAT IS THE ISSUE?
Poverty creates the conditions for violence—and conflict increases poverty. Among the poorest billion people in the world, 70% of have lived through a violent conflict, or are embroiled in conflict right now.
It’s a vicious cycle: The higher the poverty rate, the more prone a country is to conflict, which worsens poverty. People not only die because of armed violence, but also from disease and lack of food. They are forced to abandon their homes and live in camps under harsh conditions, dependent on assistance. Women and children are particularly vulnerable.
Conflict destroys infrastructure, schools, hospitals, livelihoods, people’s homes, their families, their health and their dreams—it reverses progress and development.
WHY SHOULD PEOPLE OF FAITH CARE?
As Catholics, we willingly respond to calls for help in humanitarian crises. But our mission to confront global poverty dictates that we look deeper, to address the root causes of these crises: oppression, injustice and conflict.
Church teaching tells us that peace and justice are requirements for human development and social well-being. As Pope Paul VI stated, “the new name for peace is development.” In Deus Caritas Est, Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed that the Church “cannot and must not remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice.”
This is why the Church is working to resolve conflicts and to create the conditions needed for a more peaceful—and uplifted—world. As we fight poverty, we are also called to promote human development by nurturing peaceful and just societies.
Steve Colecchi, Director, USCCB
WHAT RESPONSE IS NEEDED?
Confronting poverty compels us to work for peace. Catholics in the U.S. have a particular responsibility to urge our government to play a constructive and prominent role in building sustainable peace in the world.
You can join CRS and USCCB to advocate for:
• Greater diplomacy to support peacekeeping missions such as in the Sudan and the Holy Land, and to bring warring parties to the negotiating table.
• A stronger emphasis on development assistance both to prevent the despair that can lead to violence and to enable societies to recover.
• Support for United Nations and regional peacekeeping forces to assist in preserving negotiated peace settlements.
Live your faith by addressing poverty, conflict and injustice. Raise your voice on issues such as supporting poverty-focused international assistance to poor countries, promoting human development, building peace in conflict-torn countries, and addressing other critical concerns in solidarity with our impoverished brothers and sisters worldwide.
PRAY FOR PEACE
Join the Church in praying for peace, healing, and to deepen our connection with one another and the poor and vulnerable in the world:
Lord Jesus, who said to us: “I leave you peace. My peace I give you.”
Look upon our sisters and brothers living in conflict
as they continue the struggle for peace.
Give them the wisdom they need to choose
their future where they will know your true peace.
You call us out of slavery, oppression, and persecution
So that we may have life in abundance.
Grant us peace with one another.
Give peace among ethnic groups.
Help us to work together for the good of all.
We ask this in your name, Lord Jesus. Amen.