Justice and Peace


"Peace is not merely the absence of war; nor can it be reduced solely to the maintenance of a balance of power between enemies; nor is it brought about by dictatorship. Instead, it is rightly and appropriately called an enterprise of justice. Peace results from that order structured into human society by its divine Founder, and actualized by people as they thirst after ever greater justice."

Vatican II, Church in the Modern World (1965) 78.

Justice and Peace Group

Christ the King, Steyning

The Group started in July 1990; it is now led by Judy Batchelor, meets monthly, and has six regular members. Anyone can attend, or ask to be kept in touch with what we do.

The Justice and Peace movement in the Church is concerned with reducing poverty, hunger and deprivation in the world, and building peace through justice, within and between nations. Its inspiration is the message of the Gospel. Out of many possible fields of activity, we do what we can with our local and personal resources.

Primarily we aim to raise awareness of J & P issues in our parish community, by means of magazine articles, newsletter items, the notice-board, leaflets, and occasional talks or video showings with refreshments and discussion. We organise Lent Lunches, and sales of Fairtrade goods.

Everyone can be reached through the liturgy, especially on "special" Sundays, eg. Homelessness Sunday, Racial Justice Sunday and Peace Sunday. Sunday intercessions always include prayers for Peace and Justice.

Working for peace is a high priority: all six members belong either to Pax Christi, or the Movement for the Abolition of War - or both! Peace Sunday is highlighted with a visual display in the church, posters and prayer leaflets; the annual collection for Pax Christi is always taken; and there have been several talks about Pax Christi's work at the end of Mass.

Fund-raising is usually for CAFOD - at present for the Focus Africa campaign.

Meetings begin and end with prayer and include a period of study, with the aim of passing on what we have learned. We have worked through important documents such as the great encyclical The Progress of Peoples, and information packs on various issues; sometimes we watch a video or DVD. Then we relax over coffee.

We recognise that J & P is central to the Christian life, both for us as individuals and for the Church as a whole: it is not a fringe, specialist or optional activity.

Meeting dates and venues are usually in the newsletter.

Justice and Peace Group

St Peter’s, Shoreham

The purpose of the Justice & Peace group is to be aware of, and raise awareness of justice issues, local,
national and international, in the light of Gospel values and Catholic social teaching. The group meets bimonthly.

Though called St.Peter's, it is an ecumenical group, though at present we only have one person from another Christian church.

Justice and Peace is part of the general heading of Social Concerns, the other part is Social Welfare. Justice and welfare may be seen as the two sides of a coin, or as complementary to one another:

       ♦ Social Concern feeds the hungry person.

  1. ♦ Justice asks why a person is hungry, and seeks to remedy the situation.

Of course they don't operate exclusively, and indeed should work together, partly because it is obviously a Christian duty to feed the hungry, but we need also to try to ensure that they have sustained reliable food supplies.

There may be a concern by some that Justice and Peace is 'political' and the church should not engage in politics. The J & P view is that the church cannot but be engaged in the politics of everyday living, but not as a body support any one political party.

St.Peter's group has been engaged in a number of activities. For example:

  1. ♦ Involvement in Traidcraft led to the regular monthly Traidcraft stall

  2. ♦ We promoted Make Poverty History

  3. ♦ We joined rallies calling for cancellation of third World debt

  4. ♦ We raised concerns about Right to Life issues

  5. ♦ We promote a number of theme Sundays

  6. ♦ Peace

  7. ♦ Homelessness

  8. ♦ Racial Justice

  9. ♦ Unemployment

Our group is currently engaged, with others, not only from other churches, but also others and the District Council, in the campaign to make Adur District a Fairtrade Zone.

We have been talking about nuclear power, leading on to discussion about energy consumption and supply, and of course Climate Change. We are trying to arrange a public debate on the subject.

We are a member of the Deanery Justice and Peace group, and are linked to the Diocesan and National

Church Documents


Rerum Novarum (Pope Leo XIII) 1891

Quadragesimo Anno (Pope Pius XI) 1931

Mater et Magistra (Pope John XXIII) 1961

Pacem in Terris (Pope John XXIII) 1963

Gaudium et Spes (Vatican Council II)

Populorum Progressio (Pope Paul VI) 1967

Octogesima Adveniens (Pope Paul VI) 1971

Justitia in Mundo (Synod of Bishops) 1971

Evangelii Nuntiandi (Pope Paul VI) 1975

Laborem Exercens (Pope John Paul II) 1981

Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (John Paul II) 1987

Centesimus Annus (Pope John Paul II) 1991

Deus Caritas Est (Pope Benedict XVI) 2006

Caritas in Veritate (Pope Benedict XVI) 2009

Any Room at the Inn? Bishop Patrick O’Donohue on Asylum seekers 2001

The Call of Creation Bishops of England and Wales on the Environment, 2002

Cherishing Life Bishops of England and Wales, 2004


Faith in the City (Church of England) 1985