Gaffney, Pat

Gaffney, Pat

Pat Gaffney

1 February 2023Feature

The latest meeting of the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative brought together people from around the world

In 2016, I met many inspiring peacemakers in Rome when Pax Christi International launched the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative (see PN 2622 – 2623). It set in motion a process to engage with the Vatican, and the global Catholic family, in the practice of nonviolence as a way of life, a spirituality and a method for change. In December 2022, another encounter took place with 75 participants from 28 nations. It was entitled: ‘Pope Francis, Nonviolence and the Fullness of Pacem in…

1 August 2022Feature

Catholic priest who became chair of CND

At the funeral mass in thanksgiving for Bruce’s life, Valerie Flessati, his widow, concluded her tribute with these words: ‘What a man! What a voice! What a friend! What a lot of love! We give profound thanks.’

Messages, memories and photographs spanning 70 years have poured in from around the world as people share their stories: ‘Bruce baptised my child.’ ‘Bruce shared a sandwich with me in Euston Station.’ ‘Bruce was only the second person to visit me in prison.’ ‘Bruce spoke at my…

11 December 2020Feature

Study sessions, days of action and a new book - an update from Pat Gaffney

I am a cup-half-full sort of person – not, I hope, naïve – but encouraged by the hope-filled actions around me.

In the last year, this includes the strengthening of the Black Lives Matter movement, the persistence of the Campaign Against Arms Trade in continuing their legal challenge to UK weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, the long-awaited coming into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Also in October, we had another hope-filled action. Pope Francis…

8 December 2020Comment

Pat Gaffney reviews the new biopic of Franz Jägerstätter

It is not often that we see our peace heroes on the big screen. It can be a source of great joy or a complete disaster. So it was with some anxiety that I watched A Hidden Life, written and directed by Terrence Malick, telling the story of Franz Jägerstätter and his wife Franziska (‘Frani’).

The name may be familiar to readers. Franz was an Austrian conscientious objector who refused to serve in Hitler’s army and who was executed in Brandenburg an der Havel in 1943.

1 December 2019Feature

Eight campaigners share their views

Peace News contacted folk around Britain to ask their opinions on the 12 December general election – people who’ve contributed to PN or helped organise Peace News Summer Camp. These are the eight campaigners who managed to meet our very tight deadline, giving their varied views on tactical voting, the Trident nuclear weapon system, climate, the arms trade and much else. (Unusually, we don’t have someone urging people not to vote, which has been a theme in past election…

1 October 2019Feature

The final part of our interview with long-time Catholic peace activist Pat Gaffney

Pope Francis meets Pat Gaffney. Photo: The Vatican

Pat Gaffney is a much-loved figure within the British peace movement and has served the movement in a variety of ways since the 1980s. One of the key organisers of the Ash Wednesday actions at the ministry of defence in London (calling for nuclear disarmament), Pat has been arrested 11 times for nonviolent civil disobedience, and has been imprisoned three times. This second part of our interview with Pat covers her three decades…

1 August 2019Feature

The first part of our interview with long-time Christian peace activist Pat Gaffney

Image Pat Gaffney

After 29 years of being the general secretary of the Catholic peace organisation, Pax Christi UK, Pat Gaffney stepped down in April. This first part of our interview with Pat covers the years before Pax Christi – liberation theology, death squads, direct action and new models of education.

The first time I took part in direct action was amazingly powerful, at every level. It was with Catholic Peace Action on 14…

1 October 2018Feature

Faith-based campaigners from around the world share stories of effective action

Building on the 2016 gathering in Rome (see article), Pax Christi International created the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative, invited by the pope to ‘revitalise the tools of nonviolence, and active nonviolence in particular.’ The project has been organised around five international round tables, to pull together and document experiences of the theory, thinking, theology and practice of…

1 October 2018Feature

In 2016, 80 Catholics from 35 countries gathered in Rome to discuss peace & nonviolence. Pat Gaffney explains what happened next.

Peace News readers will be familiar with the names of Gene Sharp, Jean Paul Ledarch, George Lakey, Martin Luther King and Gandhi, as among those who have lived, taught and supported nonviolent peacemaking through the decades. For some of those named, the Christian Gospels and the life and witness of Jesus will have been a source of motivation and inspired their thinking and practice of nonviolence.

In 2016, Catholic peace practitioners, academics, theologians and members…

31 December 2013Feature

Eyewitness account of peace and justice projects inside Israel

Women in Black vigil in Jerusalem. Photo:Pat Gaffney

As a Christian, I had often thought of going to Israel-Palestine but had never quite been able to overcome the uneasy feeling of visiting a place regarded as ‘holy’ which is also a place of such injustice and violence.

That changed in 1999 when Pax Christi held its international council in Jordan and Jerusalem to offer support and encouragement to its partners in the whole region. To be invited by…

3 November 2013Blog

As a Christian, I had often thought of going to Israel-Palestine but had never quite been able to overcome the uneasy feeling of visiting a place regarded as ‘holy’ which is also a place of such injustice and violence.

In 1999, that changed when Pax Christi held its international council in Jordan and Jerusalem to offer support and encouragement to its partners in the whole region. To be invited by organisations working on the ground for peace and justice to ‘come and see’ made it…

25 September 2012News

Three Catholic peace activists were found guilty of criminal damage for writing on the ministry of defence with charcoal.

On 3 September, a London magistrate refused to grant a compensation claim of £300 demanded by the ministry of defence (MoD) from Catholic peace activists Ray Towey, 68, Henrietta Cullinan, 50, and Katrina Alton, 44.

Earlier, the three had been joined by 25 supporters for a time of prayer outside Hammersmith magistrates’ court before a three-hour trial.

The three activists offered clear and moving accounts of their peace actions at the MoD during Holy Week when they…

28 August 2012Feature

Pat Gaffney surveys faith groups' Olympic activism

‘The ideal of the Olympic Truce can itself be a sign that if it is possible to live without conflict for today, it might be possible to live without conflict tomorrow. But I need to invest in this peace, by laying down my own arms, and by joining hands with my neighbour, especially those I am most fearful and suspicious of.’ said Bishop Stephen Cottrell, speaking at a service in June at Chelmsford cathedral, welcoming the opportunity of peace-making through the Olympics.

This was one…

1 May 2010News

Archbishop Oscar Romero addressed these words to the national guard in El Salvador, the day before he was brutally murdered in San Salvador on 24 March 1980: “Brothers, you belong to your own people. You kill your own brother peasants… the law of God should prevail that says do not kill! No soldier is obliged to obey an order counter to the law of God.”

30 years on, this advocate of justice, nonviolence and reconciliation was remembered in services, gatherings and articles…

1 September 2007News

Braving adverse weather conditions, more than 370 Christians gathered in Swanwick, Derbyshire for the annual National Network of Justice and Peace conference, “Called to be Peacemakers - Who Me?”

For the first time the conference was organised ecumenically in partnership with the Fellowship of Reconciliation and Pax Christi.

Young and old, newcomers and seasoned conference goers took part in a full programme that offered stimulating talks, workshops on peacemaking, liturgy…