Holy Week actions connect Crucifixion with peacemaking

Catholic peace activist Paul Magno was arrested soon after he was chained to the White House fence in a "contemporary crucifixion" Good Friday as part of a campaign to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Catholic peace activist Paul Magno was arrested soon after he was chained to the White House fence in a "contemporary crucifixion" Good Friday as part of a campaign to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (Photo from Witness Against Torture)

Among Catholic peacemakers Holy Week has become a time of witnessing for peace and prayerful resistance while recalling Christ’s crucifixion. Catholics were among 23 people arrested in at least three vigils across the country on Holy Thursday and Good Friday.

The largest group of arrests came during the annual Nevada Desert Experience at Creech Air Force Base 40 miles northwest of Las Vegas. Fourteen people were charged with trespass after walking through an open gate seeking to talk with Air Force soldiers piloting unmanned drones over Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Kathy Kelly of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, one of those arrested, told Catholic News Service the group wanted to ask why attacks on innocent people were being carried out.

“It’s a new form of warfare in which a soldier doesn’t leave the base but yet can wreak terrible havoc on people,” she said.
Other arrested include Jesuit Fathers John Dear and Steve Kelly; Franciscan Fathers Louis Vitale and Jerry Zawada; Holy Child of Jesus Sister Megan Rice; and Catholic Workers Mariah Klusmire of Albuquerque, N.M., Brian Terrell of Maloy, Iowa, and Renee Espeland of Des Moines, Iowa. Arraignments are set for June 9.

On Good Friday eight people were arrested at the Pentagon for praying around a cross outside of a designated protest zone. They were among 50 people wearing black robes and white masks to symbolize the war dead. They had been part of a Holy Week Faith and Resistance retreat in Washington put together by the Jonah House community in Baltimore and Dorothy Day Catholic Worker in Washington.

Charged with disobeying a lawful order of a government agent and given a June 19 court date were Molly Brechtel, Susan Crane, Nancy Gowan, Brian Hynes, Bill Frankel-Streit, Art Laffin, Sister Margaret McKenna and David Ryle.

Longtime Catholic peace activist Paul Magno of Washington was arrested during a noon hour witness Good Friday at the White House in which he was chained to a fence in a “contemporary crucifixion” as a group of people sang “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?” His action was part of Witness Against Torture’s 100 Day Campaign to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

4 Responses

  1. I wonder if any of these protesters have prayed at Planned Parenthood abortion clinics trying to save the women’s souls and their babies from certain destruction…Guantanamo Bay exists to save our nation from destruction by these terrorists.

  2. The real road to peace begins with our striving to be at peace with ourselves which means being at peace with our God who resides within each and everyone of us. Then and only then work on bringing peace to our immediate families, then our communities (social, faith, political, etc.) then city, country and eventually the who whole world. In short we must become principled centered. Now we do have some soldiers who are bad eggs but, on the whole, most of these are very principled centered people who are willing go to harm’s way and even to lay their very lives down for their fellow soldiers and the freedom’s the rest of us take so much for granted. They are truly the ones planting the seeds of peace!!!

  3. There are many ways to fight for freedom and save ourselves from destruction- but torturing should not be one of them.
    I’m sure our political leaders have the best of intentions. However, in issues that involve the sanctity of life (whether innocent or guilty), we must be righteous in our means.
    Even if we were to succeed in ending terrorism forever, if the way we achieved it was through the torture of human beings who we’ve already pre-judged as guilty, then we’ve only made ourselves the terror.
    I’m not saying that the end never justifies the means- I’m saying that if we are Christians who love what is right, then we cannot tolerate doing wrong, even if our intentions are right.

  4. “Blessed are the peacemakers” – How is signing up to be trained to go kill other human beings (U.S. Military) remotely connected with peacemaking? How is spending $137 billion a year by the Pentagon (according to the Nat’l Defense Council) to protect all Persian Gulf oil, related to the ways and teachings of a first century marginal Jew who railed against empire? Not to mention our 737+ military installations around the world, the 21st century version of the colony- which history has shown is synonymous with imperialism.

    Why should Christians, who want to give their lives in a meaningful way, be manipulated into believing that dropping cluster bombs, hellfire missiles, or using depleted uranium against the lands & peoples of Iraq or Afghanistan be considered peacemaking? The women & men of our military deserve better, and should be immediately disarmed and turned into a Department of Peace using only the tactics of nonviolent third party intervention.

    God help us as Christianity has become ‘embedded’ into the military just like the news media. We’re taught the myth of redemptive violence early on, and it’s sustained by the myth of the hero American soldier saving a life or protecting freedom, with no countering stories of the very real destruction of lands & peoples by modern warfare. ‘Freedom’ as we know it is a policy that has led to consuming 25% of the world’s resources, and if that’s the policy one subscribes to, then of course you need a military to protect one’s greed.

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