BOCS Homepage

SerboCroat Magyar
Peace Service in East-Europe hearing
"Conscientious Objectors: Criminals? Dreamers? Heroes?


"They will make their swords into ploughshares, their spears into gardening tools. Nation will not attack nation and no one will learn war anymore. (Isaiah)

We, as representatives of Christian denominations in this hearing, would like to:

- express our solidarity with men and women who in the past, in the present, and in the future, faithfully follow Jesus' love of their enemies, even if they must undergo suffering:
- ask for the solidarity of the whole Church with them:
- ask for the forgiveness of those who have the right to an undistorted preaching of Jesus' Gospel:
- represent the Catholic Church's positive attitude towards non-violence, as expressed in synodal declarations which are hidden and rejected in Eastern Europe.

We demand that
- the Bishops' Conference in Hungary officially and publicly withdraw its declarations (of 1986 and 199O) which sought to show that conscientious objection is non-Catholic and therefore refused to give moral support to Hungarian Catholic conscientious objectors.

- the conflict between military service and Christian morality be mentioned and taught in seminary and general religious education as a new subject, "Peace Studies".

- church leaders in Eastern Europe demand that, in their countries, a civilian service be introduced, of equal duration and without any penalties attached: and if it exists already, that it should be a peace service, including, e.g., mediation, conflict resolution, and other peace activities:

- church leaders offer solidarity to those who have been suffering imprisonment for their conscientious objection elsewhere (e.g., Greece):

- they offer as positive examples Franz Jagerstatter and others who refused to join the army for reasons of faith;

- they contribute to changing the militaristic myth attached to St. Martin of Tours, declaring that he was a conscientious objector rather than a soldier (he was forced by his father to enter the army and, as soon as it was possible, he left it, giving his faith as the reason). The 16OOth anniversary of his death offers a good opportunity to do this.