Skip to main content

Pax Christi USA

Pax Christi USA (1972–), an association of Roman Catholics committed to nonviolence. Gordon Zahn, a sociologist and a Catholic conscientious objector during World War II, and Eileen Egan, an official in Catholic Relief Services, founded Pax Christi USA in 1972. They secured support from Bishop Thomas Gumbleton of Detroit and Bishop Carroll Dozier of Memphis, and then obtained affiliation with Pax Christi International. Pax Christi USA is organized in seven regions, with a national board, national assemblies, and a wide range of peace activities. By its twentieth anniversary in 1992, Pax Christi USA had over 12,000 members in 300 local chapters.

A turning point for the organization occurred from 1979 to 1982 under the leadership of Mary Evelyn Jegen, SND. She established a national executive council to establish policy, a newsletter, a press service, reflection/action groups, annual liturgies, vigils, and demonstrations. All of these activities kept the organization's aim of education for peace in the forefront. She also maintained close contact with other Catholic groups as well as with broader peace and antiwar movements, especially religious pacifist groups. While enabling all concerned Catholics to come together, she gradually moved the organization away from the “just war” tradition and toward pacifism as the most viable Catholic attitude toward peacemaking.

Pax Christi USA's criticisms of U.S. government policies, particularly in the 1970s and 1980s, were more far‐reaching than those of mainline Catholics and the hierarchy. They focused on three main areas: the draft (until its end in 1973); Central America; and nuclear warfare, arms control and disarmament. Pax Christi USA also focused attention on the National Conference of Catholic Bishops' pastoral letter on war and peace issues. When The Challenge of Peace; God's Promise and Our Response was issued (1983), Pax Christi USA affirmed it as the strongest moral renunciation of nuclear war and weaponry by any Catholic hierarchy, and vowed to assume responsibility for making the letter and its teachings known and accepted by the broader Catholic community.
[See also Conscientious Objection; Just War Theory; Nuclear Protest Movements; Vietnam Antiwar Movement.]

Bibliography

Pax Christi USA, 17 (Spring–Summer 1992): Gerard Vanderhaar , The Early Years: 1972–78, pp. 4–10; Patricia McNeal , The Chicago Years 1979–1984, pp. 11–17, and Erie Years 1985–Present, pp. 17–25.
Patricia McNeal , Harder Than War: Catholic Peace Making in Twentieth Century America, 1992.

Patricia McNeal

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Pax Christi USA." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Encyclopedia.com. 14 Aug. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Pax Christi USA." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 14, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/pax-christi-usa

"Pax Christi USA." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Retrieved August 14, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/pax-christi-usa

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.