Pace e Bene: 'No to Torture' Speaking Tour

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photo: Father Vitale at National Day of Protest: Close Guantanamo and End U.S. Torture Policies Everywhere, Market and Powell Streets in San Francisco, Sunday January 11)

Circle of Peace Speaking Tour Spring 2009
with Father Louie Vitale, 

Click here to see Fr. Louie's Tour Schedule! (in San Leandro April 18; see calendar in right hand column this page for details)

How do we relate with individuals and countries that believe differently that we do? How do we deal with our so-called enemies? Is torture morally acceptable? How do we respond to terrorism?

Father Louie Vitale has been grappling with these and other related questions for nearly half a century since he began his journey by enlisting in the air force as a young man, and having a conversion towards nonviolence. While all of our journeys take different paths, our hearts converge upon the commonality of Pace e Bene -- Italian for "peace and good."

Since his release from jail in spring 2008, Father Louie has given 35 talks at universities, community, and church groups across the United States and in Canada. In 2009 Louie will be touring the United States to talk of these issues. he served 3 and 6-month sentences for crossing the line twice at the School of Americas in Fort benning, GA, where the US trains Latin American soldiers in torture techniques. Then Louie served 5 months for crossing the line and praying at Fort Huachuca (the military installation in Arizona where we train our American Intelligence Officers in "Enhanced Interrogation" tactics such as the much publicized water boarding, among other torure methods). In March 2009, Fr. Louie journeyed to Iran with the Fellowship of Reconciliation as part of an Iran Civilian Diplomacy Delegation to dialogue with the government and people of Iran, our supposed "enemy."

Download Fr. Louie's resume

Suggested Speaking Topics

  • Love your Enemies: Transforming Us vs. Them Thinking -  Fr. Louie will discuss the importance of dialoguing with our enemies instead of warring with them. Just back from Iran he will discuss his experience there and the development around the forging of new relationships with the Iranian people and government. Suggested next steps include both continuing to build people-to-people ties with Iranians, as well as advocating with our government to talk with the Iranian government.
  • No to Torture: Close Fort Benning and Fort Huachuca - In this talk, Fr. Louie discusses hwo we are training latin American military (School of Americas) and our own military (Fort Huachuca) to torture others and hwo this is both morally wrong and ineffective. He speaks about how torture harms both those who are tortured as well as the torturers, and he proposes alternatives to torture.
  • The Nonviolent Response to Terrorism - Fr. Louie explores alternatives to our current policies of killing and tortuing terrorists, therby inciting others to join terrorist organizations. He dicusses how nonviolence can be used as a much more effective response to terrorism.

Tour Dates

The main part of the tour will be in March thru May 2009

Host Expectations

There are a few expectations which people interested in hosting need to be aware of and able to accomplish.

  • Securing Venue - It is the responsibility of the host to provide venue arrangements, setting the time, location, and equipment for the event. It is up to the host to choose the most beneficial location for the event, i.e. sometimes churches or schools may provide the space free of charge, but other times they require a rental fee. If there is a cost, the host will assume the cost.
  • Publicizing Event - It is the responsibility of the host to publicize the event in your community and also utilize the local media. Pace e Bene has provided a flyer template and is able to provide other ideas regarding this matter.
  • Resource Table - Pace e Bene will send materials to be sold with Father Louie and will need a table for our resources to be sold.
  • Resource Sales - The host will provide a person for Pace e Bene resource sales at the table. Depending upon the location, we may be able to send someone to person the table.
  • Signup Sheet - Pace e Bene will provide the host with blank sets of signup sheets. We find they work best to have at the door for when people arrive and leave but can also be passed around during the event if there is no entrance table.

Fees and Logistics

  • Contact Ken Preston, 510-268-8765,
  • The program for this speaking even usually includes a talk followed by a question and answer session.


A co-founder of Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service, Fr. Louie Vitale is currently on staff as the organization's Nonviolent Action Advocate. Ordained in 1963 as a Franciscan priest, Fr. Vitale has devoted his life to peace, working tirelessly for the dignity and well-being of people everywhere.  With a background in sociology and a focus on the Sociology of Religion and social movements, Louie is a long time social activist.  He served as the provincial of the California Franciscan Friars from 1979 to 1988, along with co-founding the Nevada Desert Experience and participating in its enduring movement to end nuclear testing.  Fr. Vitale also participated heavily in the United Farm Workers Movement in the 60s and 70s as well as counseling draft registers during the Vietnam War.

He has worked in a wide array of nationwide welfare rights campaigns and during the 1980s was involved with human rights delegations in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatemala.  Fr. Vitale is also a member of the Religious Witness with the Homeless.

He recently completed twelve years as the pastor of St. Boniface Catholic Church in a low-income neighborhood in San Francisco, California.  Fr. Louie served jail sentences of three months and six months for trespassing at the US School of Americas in Fort Benning, Georgia, where the US has trained Latin American military soldiers who have subsequently been found to commit human rights violations in their own countries.  In 2006 he was part of a delegation to meet with Iraqi parliamentarians in Jordan.  They also met with survivors in Abu Ghraib and continued onto Syria to meet with refugees of the Israeli bombings in Lebanon.  Recently, he was released after serving five months in jail for trespassing at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, where US Army Intelligence Officers are trained in torture techniques that have been used in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay.  Fr. Vitale is the recipient of the Pax Christi Teacher of Peace award, the 2006 Jefferson Award for community service and the St. Thomas More Society award.  The stories of Louie's efforts to end torture have been published in Sojourners Magazine and La Vie, a French Christian Spirituality magazine.  He earned his Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles.

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This page contains a single entry published on April 13, 2009 5:43 PM.

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