Publication of "The Challenge of Peace"
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On May 3, 1983, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops published a pastoral letter entitled "The Challenge of Peace: God’s Promise and Our Response," in which they denounced the country’s nuclear policies during the cold war and called upon the government to reverse the arms race. The 150-page document detailed how the arms race was immoral and that peacemaking is "not an optional commitment," but a "requirement of our faith." Ultimately the bishops pushed for nonviolent strategies to deal with conflict, but they did concede that nuclear deterrence was only acceptable as a step toward progressive disarmament.

The letter drew both praise and criticism from Catholics and it disturbed the White House. It is considered one of the "boldest and most decisive step on social issues in the history of the American hierarchy," according to Kenneth A. Briggs of The New York Times.
Interactive Timeline(s)
Catholic Religious Events and People in American History
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Catholic Religious Events and People in American History
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Catholicism (Western Liturgical Family): Other ARDA Links


The Challenge of Peace, first page- United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Gathering of Catholic Bishops- Library of Congress, LC-DIG-hec-35576

USCCB building- Wikimedia Commons- photo by Farragutful (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Book/Journal Source(s)
Lippy, Charles H., and Peter W. Williams, 1988. Encyclopedia of American Religious Experience. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.
Glazier, Michael, and Thomas Shelley, 1997. The Encyclopedia of American Catholic History. Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press..
Web Source(s)
The Challenge of Peace: God's Promise and Our Response A Pastoral Letter on War and Peace by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops May 3, 1983
Web Page Contributor
Benjamin T. Gurrentz
Affliated with: Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. in Sociology

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