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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.


Tension can be productive. Certainly, there are resources even within the just war tradition itself on which those interested in promoting the development of peacebuilding practices might draw. In addition to the practice of including more participants from areas and groups historically excluded from Church conferences and conversations, the maintenance of these competing views of the moral status of modernity may thus be a means of facilitating dialogue and new development within the Catholic community itself. Read the full article »


These conversations are worth noting because they reinforced for me two convictions: first, that there is a great deal to be said regarding the role of nonviolent modes of addressing human conflict, a topic often neglected by interpreters of the just war tradition; and second, that severing the notions of just peace and just war, for example by setting aside the vocabulary of jus ad bellum and jus in bello is a mistake. Indeed, I think we should combine these, and thus affirm that the notions of just peace and just war go together. Read the full article »

From Just War to Just Peace?


Whether or not one approves rare and stringently specified uses of violent force to protect democratic institutions and human security, all Catholics, and counterparts in other traditions, should prioritize practical initiatives to transform conflicts and expand just peace. Read the full article »

On religion and violence


The rise of ISIL and the so-called Islamic State in 2014 has given prominence to discussions of religious violence in the media, with much emphasis placed on questions of the relationship between Islam and violence. Read the full article »


The latest in modern social networking has focused enormous attention on the crimes of Joseph Kony. But the peace-making resources of ancient religious and tribal traditions offer the only way to heal the wounds he has inflicted.


In Peacebuilding: Catholic Theology, Ethics, and Praxis (Maryknoll, 2010) as well as in his forthcoming book, Just and Unjust Peace: An Ethic of Political Reconciliation (Oxford University Press, 2012), Daniel Philpott addresses the issues of transitional justice from a political perspective on reconciliation. He, like others, emphasizes the objective of restoring relationships that were harmed by injustice. This restoration includes all members of the community and not only victims and perpetrators.


I am further drawn to reflect on the insights of Peacebuilding: Catholic Theology, Ethics, and Praxis when I think of another conflict zone in the Magdalena Medio region, the southern part of the department of Bolivar. This zone is characterized by vast gold resources that have attracted several armed actors: traditionally the ELN guerrilla and, from the 1990s, the paramilitary forces.