Catholic peacebuilding: a personal view from Colombia (Part 2)

CHRISTIAN WLASCHÜTZ

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.

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Catholic peacebuilding: a personal view from Colombia (Part 1)

CHRISTIAN WLASCHÜTZ

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.

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The Qur’an, the Bible, and the urge to violence

MUSTAFA AKYOL

Philip Jenkins’ September 2011 piece in this blog, “9/11: Did the Qur’an really make them do it?,” was an eye-opener. For me it was also a reminder of some anti-Semitic propaganda I found in an Istanbul bookstore years ago. One book was full of photos showing Israeli soldiers attacking Palestinians, with huge captions that included verses from the Old Testament. If the photograph showed Israelis breaking the bones of a Palestinian youngster, then the caption featured the biblical verse, “He shall break their bones” (Numbers 24: 8b). But I soon learned that militants who practice violence in the name of Judaism turn violent not because they read their religious texts. Rather, they focus on the harsher parts of those texts because they are already violent.

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Catholic contributions to modern peacebuilding

GERARD POWERS

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.

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Pakistan: between betrayed dream and desire to rebuild

PETER JACOB

Pakistan’s polity today does not reflect the ideals set by her founder, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, outlining a pluralistic democracy and religious freedom. But the undying spirit of the Pakistani people and their enduring commitment to true democracy—which braved executions, imprisonments, flogging and torture to oppose and defeat four despotic military regimes in 60 years—demonstrate that a new Pakistan can be built.

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Lessons for Interreligious Dialogue today

KARSTEN LEHMANN

I concluded my last post on Manila 1960 with two questions: Why did Manila 1960 take place under the peculiar circumstances described so far? And why did Manila 1960 remain a forgotten episode in the history of Interreligious Dialogue? Let me answer with two simple statements: Interreligious Dialogue is inseparable from the political field, and Manila 1960 was forgotten because a new religious elite rose to take control of Interreligious Dialogue.

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Another error in the “war on terror”

MAHAN MIRZA

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.

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Inequality, masculinity & modernity

M. CHRISTIAN GREEN

In the weeks and months after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, speculation swirled over the attackers’ possible motivations. The pseudo-religious zeal of Mohammed Atta’s final letter to his comrades was only one aspect of it. Attention also centered on the attackers’ possible socioeconomic motivations. Theirs was not a problem of absolute poverty, of course, but of relative poverty. In their new environs, they could never quite fit in culturally—or perhaps religiously, morally, or spiritually—given the marginalization of immigrants that persists in many European countries even among immigrants who aspire to “assimilate.”

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Truth & reconciliation amid sexual violence

M. CHRISTIAN GREEN

Like many universities around America, Notre Dame recognized Sexual Assault Awareness Week at the end of last month (February 20-27) in a world in which sexual violence against women and girls—and sometimes men and boys—remains a persistent evil. As one of the world’s oldest forms of violence, present throughout the ages, particularly in situations of conflict and war, sexual violence seems distinctly anti-modern from both religious and secular perspectives. How is it that sexual violence remains such a blot on human nature, human society and, particularly, the relationship between men and women?

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