Riverside Ploughshares Statement
Fleet Week, New York City, May 2003
We come here today to enflesh the prophecy from Isaiah, “They shall beat
their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks” (2:4).
With hammers we have initiated the process of disarming this battle ship, of
transforming this carrier of mass destruction into a vessel for peace. The
USS Philippine Sea uses Tomahawk cruise missiles, depleted uranium munitions
and the Aegis radar system to enforce the US empire’s will on other nations
and regions. We pour our blood on this ship to reveal the blood of the
innocent already shed by the use of this weaponry. We also pour our blood to
repent for our complicity in the pervasive violence of our world.
We are trying to follow Jesus Christ’s commandments to love our enemies and
neighbours, to forgive those who do us harm and to repent. We seek to stop
the injury of war on the human family and heal our communities by living
nonviolently and seeking justice for all. The peace and security that comes
from an empire wielding weapons of war and intimidation are false and
illusory. With hammers we disarm this weapon of mass destruction and with
blood we reveal its purpose.
In the spirit of Dorothy Day, who co-founded with Peter Maurin, the Catholic
Worker in New York City seventy years ago, we try in our daily lives to
practice the Works of Mercy, set out in Matthew, Chapter 25. We feel that to
follow God’s will we must do more than serve the broken of our society. It
is also our duty to challenge, as Christ did, that which causes poverty.
Until we convert weapons that end life into tools that enhance life, poverty
will continue to cripple our society. For this we pray and for this we act.
We are Susan Clarkson, Mark
Colville, Joan Gregory and Brian Buckley from urban and rural Catholic