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To Kill or Not to Kill: Just War or Nonviolence?


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The 2017 Margaret F. Grace Lecture, “To Kill or Not to Kill: Just War or Nonviolence? A Conversation with Maryann Cusimano Love, James Turner Johnson, and Rev. John Dear,” will be held at the College on Tuesday, April 4, 2017 at 7 p.m. in Smith Hall. The event will examine the historical and modern-day context of just war, social justice, and the future of peacebuilding.

A group of approximately 80 bishops, theologians, priests, sisters, and laypersons gathered at the Vatican in April 2016 for the Nonviolence and Just Peace Conference, co-sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and Pax Christi International. The participants, all experienced nonviolent social justice and peace leaders, rejected the Church’s long-held teachings on just war theory, believing the teachings have too often been used to justify violent conflicts.

“Given last year’s Vatican Conference, the Margaret F. Grace Committee believes that it is timely to reexamine the competing traditions of just war theory and nonviolence,” said Joshua Shmikler, Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the committee of Mount faculty and administrators charged with organizing the event. “We are honored to have such an outstanding collection of academics, military advisers, and peace activists participating.”

This year, the Mount welcomes Maryann Cusimano Love, James Turner Johnson, and Rev. John Dear for the panel presentation. Maryann Cusimano Love is a tenured associate professor of international relations at the Catholic University of America and an expert on international security and peacebuilding, James Turner Johnson is a distinguished professor emeritus in the Department of Religion at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, whose publications include Ethics and the Use of Force: Just War in Historical Perspective, and Rev. John Dear is an internationally-recognized voice for peace and nonviolence.

The Margaret F. Grace Lecture series—subtitled “Where Do I Find Hope?”—was established in 2001 by the late Margaret F. Grace, a Catholic lay leader and philanthropist. She founded the Cardinal Suenens Center at John Carroll University to carry out the vision and priorities of the Second Vatican Council. The Grace family chose the Mount to be the lecture series’ home beginning in 2016. Dedicated to highlighting ecumenism and social justice, the Margaret F. Grace Lecture series explores topics that are inherent to the spirit and tradition of Vincent de Paul and Elizabeth Ann Seton.

About the College of Mount Saint Vincent
Founded in 1847 by the Sisters of Charity, the College of Mount Saint Vincent offers nationally recognized liberal arts education and a select array of professional fields of study on a landmark campus overlooking the Hudson River. Committed to the education of the whole person, and enriched by the unparalleled cultural, educational and career opportunities of New York City, the College equips students with the knowledge, skills and experiences necessary for lives of achievement, professional accomplishment and leadership in the 21st century.