≡ Menu

Deadly Violence & Conflict Transformation

Religious and secular actors and entities alike are implicated in conflicts over resources, territory, sacred sites, ethnic identity, national struggles, and domestic and transnational terrorism. Secular, Muslim, and Catholic thinkers have developed nuanced and comprehensive laws, rules, and ethics governing the use of force. Each tradition also boasts conceptual foundations as well as leadership, movements, and institutional infrastructures that contribute to peacebuilding, justice, and the promotion of human rights. This working group will examine the internal and contested resources, warrants, and constraints concerning the use of violence, building of peace, and promotion of justice across these three discursive traditions.


In an environment that can be described as “hot” in every sense, it is refreshing to find a volume that combines the relevance and scholarly sophistication of Peacebuilding: Catholic Theology, Ethics, and Praxis (Maryknoll, 2010), edited by Robert Schreiter, Scott Appleby, and Gerard Powers. In a series of three posts, I reflect on this significant set of essays in light of my own peacebuilding work in Colombia under the auspices of the Development and Peace Program.


Among the most pressing of the challenges posed by modernity is violent conflict. How is it possible to build peace and community in the face of this challenge? The heads of several Catholic organizations most deeply involved in peacebuilding joined scholars in Rome on June 30th for a conference on "The Future of Peacebuilding: Contributions from Catholic Theology, Ethics, Praxis." The Contending Modernities blog asked the organizer of the conference as well as a key participant—Gerard Powers and Maryann Cusimano Love , respectively—to share their thoughts on Catholic peacebuilding, based on reflections they presented at the conference. Read the full article »


Some people say that Catholic Social Teaching is the Church’s Best Kept Secret. If that is true, Catholic peacebuilding may be Catholic Social Teaching’s Best Kept Secret. From South Sudan and Central America to Congo and Colombia, the Catholic Church is a powerful force for peace, freedom, justice and reconciliation. But that impressive and courageous peacebuilding work of the Catholic community is often unknown, unheralded and under-analyzed.


Three “I”s—ideas, institutions, and imagination—are crucial for understanding how Catholicism contributes to the wider society and to peacebuilding initiatives in particular.

Hope in the face of tragedy


In the face of unspeakable tragedy and loss of innocent human life, whether because of terrorism on 9/11 or the natural disaster unfolding on a massive scale in Japan, human beings are compelled to ask: Why? Why me? Why them? How do we cope? Where is God in all of this? One of the fundamental teachings of the Qur’an is that God has power over all things. No matter how incomprehensible, nothing happens without a higher purpose.


From the outset, the so-called “war on terror” has proceeded erroneously. The first error was an incorrect diagnosis of the root causes of 9/11. The second error was the response. The third error has been the faulty narrative that has sustained the conflict. Instead of engaging in some real introspection and changing course where necessary, Congressman Peter King’s hearings on the radicalization of Muslims are a doubling-down on a path of errors.


A review of the film “Of Gods and Men.”

What does it mean to love your neighbor? What does it mean to love your neighbor when a neighbor is pointing a gun at you and your other neighbors? The film "Of Gods and Men," which won "best film" at France's equivalent of the Oscars on February 25th, is based on a true story. It follows the lives of French Catholic monks in Algeria in the 1990s as the country descends into violent conflict between a secularist state and radical Islamists.