Washington, D.C. - April 6, 2022

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Press Release: In Memoriam - Father Drew Christiansen, S.J.

This morning, Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) received the news that Jesuit priest and CMEP Leadership Council member, Father Drew Christiansen, S.J., passed away as a result of heart complications. We are deeply grieved by this news. Words cannot express the marked and abundant contributions of Father Drew to Christian theologies of peacebuilding, Catholic engagement in the Middle East, and to our personal ministry efforts in peacebuilding at Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP). In 2021, Father Christiansen helped CMEP launch an inaugural Catholic Advisory Council (CAC) with esteemed leaders from several Catholic institutions and ministries to help bolster our work. His presence, leadership, wisdom, and ardent advocacy will be greatly missed. 

In addition to Father Christiansen’s pastoral presence, prayers, and spiritual devotions toward peace and justice, he tirelessly studied, learned, and taught in areas of foreign policy and global affairs. Most recently Rev. Drew Christiansen, S.J., served as Distinguished Professor of Ethics and Human Development in Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service and a senior fellow at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs. His areas of research included nuclear disarmament, nonviolence and just peacemaking, Catholic social teaching, and ecumenical public advocacy. He frequently acted as a consultant to the Holy See and a member of the steering committee of the Catholic Peacebuilding Network. He also served on the Atlantic Council's Middle East Task Force and on the Holy See delegation that participated in the negotiation of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in the summer of 2017.

Rev. Christiansen co-authored Forgiveness in International Politics: A New Road to Peace (2004, with William Bole and Robert Hennemeyer) and co-edited Peacemaking: Moral and Policy Issues for a New World (1994, with Robert Hennemeyer and Gerard F. Powers), “And God Said It Was Good”: Catholic Theology and the Environment (1996, with Walter Grazer), Michel Sabbah: Faithful Witness: On Reconciliation and Peace in the Holy Land (2009, with Michel Sabbah), and A World Free from Nuclear Weapons: The Vatican Conference on Disarmament (2020, with Carole Sargent). He published more than 200 articles in five languages. 

His recent articles include “Liberty’s Rise and Fall: A Modern History of Religious Freedom” and “The Future of Public Theology” (America); “The Jesuit Pope, Judaism and the Jews” and “Making the Parish a Place of Encounter and Dialogue” (Origins); “The Church of the Poor: Papal Responses to the Financial Crisis” (Journal of Catholic Social Teaching); and “Von Beruf: Weltretter” (Die Zeit) and “Just Peacemaking and Hybrid Wars (e-journal Ethik und Militar). He was also a contributing editor for the Review of Faith in International Affairs and the Journal of Catholic Social Thought

Rev. Christiansen served as director of the Office of International Justice and Peace of the U.S. Catholic Conference (now the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) and editor-in-chief of the Jesuit weekly America. He taught at the Jesuit School of Theology/Graduate Theological Union-Berkeley and the University of Notre Dame, where he was a member of the founding team of the Kroc Institute of International Peace Studies. He held his Ph.D., M.Phil., and M.A. from Yale University; an S.T.M. and M.Div. from Woodstock College; and an A. B. from Fordham University. For his service to the Holy Land, Christiansen was named a Canon of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem.

Responses from Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) Leadership In Memoriam of
Father Drew Christiansen, S.J. 

​​I am deeply saddened by this news and personally indebted to Father Drew’s investment in my life and ministry. His leadership on behalf of Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) will continue to have a lasting impact in the decades to come. – Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon, Executive Director of Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP)

Co-leading a USCCB pilgrimage of Catholic peace & justice coordinators, we paused atop Mount Tabor, leaning on huge ancient stones, after the notable climb up, looking out over the Jezreel Plains in near-sacred silence… Drew leaned into me amidst the hilltop heat with sun shining breezes and said: 'THIS IS WHY WE ARE HERE. This is why we bring our friends/colleagues with us - to hear, to see, to know all that God has given us through Jesus Christ, his Son...not so we can possess it as a pilgrim treasure but so we can all share the peace justice and love he pours into us." In numerous theological, academic & pastoral ways, Drew was persistent shining the Light of Christ for true paths to peace for all everywhere. May his light shine strong & steadfast now as we, his friends continue carrying the gift he was for us. – Joseph Cornelius Donnelly, CMEP Catholic Advisory Council (CAC) Member and emeritus Permanent Delegate to the United Nations for Caritas International 

​​We are truly diminished. May he rest in peace and may we rise to carry on his legacy of love and compassion. – Susan Gunn, CMEP Board Chair and Director of Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns 

Fr. Christiansen was a valued colleague and friend of so many. His memory will be a blessing to them, and to the continued work he did to bring peace and understanding. May his memory be eternal! – Tony Kireopoulos, CMEP Board Member and Sr. Program Director for Faith & Order and Interfaith Relations at National Council of Churches USA

Father Christiansen was a national legend truly devoted to core Jesuit values. – David Maloof, CMEP Leadership Council Member and Attorney at Law 

I am deeply saddened by the news of Drew's passing to God. He was a voice for reason and justice in the Middle East and a living icon of the much overlooked Social Teaching of the Catholic Church. He leaves a vacancy that will neither soon nor easily be filled. – Father Elias Mallon, SA, CMEP Catholic Advisory Council (CAC) Member and Director of External Affairs for Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA)

Fr. Drew personified the Jesuit mission of finding God in all things. I'm grateful for having known Fr. Drew and learning so much about the Church in the Middle East from him. – Dr. Mary Moran, CMEP Catholic Advisory Council (CAC) Member

I'm so sorry to hear this. Holding his spirit and all who knew him in the Light. – Bridget Moix, General Secretary, of CMEP Member Communion Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL)

We all share the grief for the loss of a colleague but rejoice in the belief that he has gone on to a better--indeed, perfect--world. – Bill Zartman, CMEP Leadership Council Member and Professor Emeritus at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University


Formed in 1984, Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) is a coalition of more than 30 national church communions and organizations, including Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, and Evangelical traditions that works to encourage US policies that actively promote a comprehensive resolution to conflicts in the Middle East with a focus on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. CMEP works to mobilize US Christians to embrace a holistic perspective and to be advocates of equality, human rights, security, and justice for Israelis, Palestinians, and all people of the Middle East.


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