WASHINGTON--Catholics throughout the United States have been called to celebrate Stand Against Violence Week, January 12-22.
The week is designated by the U.S. Bishops to urge people to work for peace and to remind them of the prevalence of violence in contemporary society. This is the third year the Bishops have designated a time to mark anti-violence activities.
During Stand Against Violence Week people all across the nation will recall the January 15 birthday of the assassinated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who promoted non-violence, and will mark the January 22 anniversary of the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. Both racism, such as that which led to the King assassination, and diminished respect for innocent life, which leads to abortion, are significant factors creating the overall sense of violence which pervades U.S. society.
Locally, parishes and schools are encouraged to sponsor events to counter such violence as abortion, domestic violence and the prevalence of handguns in society. Churches and groups also are urged to provide classes and seminars on nonviolent behavior and conflict resolution.
Stand Against Violence Week is a diocesan and parish response to the U.S. Bishops' 1994 statement "Confronting a Culture of Violence: A Catholic Framework for Action" and the on-going Catholic Campaign for Children and Families.
Since the Bishops' statement was issued, diocesan and parish groups nationwide have turned their attention to the anti-violence framework for action outlined by the Bishops. Many national Catholic organizations which came together as a working group on anti-violence have taken significant initiatives with their own constituencies on the theme of violence. Groups include the U.S. Catholic Conference, the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry, the National Catholic Educational Association. The National Catholic Conference on Interracial Justice, National Council of Catholic Women, Conference of Major Superiors of Men and Cathoic Charities, USA.