Restorative justice element needed in sacrament of penance
from the article on CatholicIreland.net:
Purely verbal approach to repentance is not enough says President of Maynooth.
As Catholic churches all over the world stayed open last night and today to celebrate “a festival of forgiveness” through the ’24 hours for the Lord’ initiative, the President of St Patrick’s College Maynooth has said there is a real need for restorative justice in the sacrament of Confession.
Restorative justice in Islam: Should qisas be considered a form of restorative justice?
The restorative justice movement challenges conventional approaches to sentencing and punishment by involving the victim, community, and perpetrator in sentencing. The movement is characterized by an emphasis on the restoration of relationships, healing and rehabilitation.
Peacemaking circles become a way of living on Chicago’s South Side
“Four friends of mine were killed this summer,” Jonathan Little tells a group of college students visiting Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation, a kind of peace zone in Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood. The young man’s voice is somber but composed, as if he has taken the full measure of this abyss of suffering. He has decided that it’s his duty to honor the dead by methodically pushing on with the work — the quest, really — of finding a way out of the storm of violence that bears down on the young in the precincts of poverty and institutionalized racism on the South Side of Chicago.
Police hunt church arsonists, aged just six and nine
from the article by Tammy Hughes in the Mail:
A devastating arson attack carried out on a church was committed by two schoolchildren aged just six and nine.
Religious books, a valuable alter cloth, carpets and fittings were all destroyed in the blaze amounting to £10,000 worth of damage.
It is thought that four small fires were started as an act of vandalism and that the children didn't expect for the blaze to get out of hand.
Transformative Justice and “Cities of Refuge:” Miklat, Miklat Zine (REVISED)
....Another strategy for addressing transgression, mentioned in the Torah, are the Cities of Refuge or Miklat Arei. In theory, a person accused of a serious crime, even a capital offense, could flee to a City of Refuge and live out their life, safe from violent retribution. The Talmud states that these cities should be evenly spaced throughout the land and accessible by wide and well-maintained roads. At every crossroad there should be a signpost marked Miklat (Refuge). The Cities of Refuge were not only a location for individual sanctuary but a vehicle for spiritual expiation and cleansing of society and the land.
A chance to heal unholy wounds
For many years, religious organisations have grappled with the need to improve the ways they deal with abusive behaviour by their own clergy. In my previous role as director of social justice in the Uniting Church during the 1990s, I worked with my colleagues to develop sexual abuse complaints procedures. In that task I gained an appreciation of just how challenging and complex this issue can be.
FaithCARE: Creating restorative congregations
....FaithCARE — Faith Communities Affirming Restorative Experiences — grew from a two-day retreat in 2007 that explored the possibilities for employing restorative practices in a faith-community context. Following the retreat, the group, including restorative justice pioneers Mark Yantzi and the late Rev. Stu Schroeder, as well as others still involved in the project, formed a steering committee to develop operational concepts for resolving conflict in churches and find ways to use restorative processes for decision making and relationship building in faith communities.
The measure with which we measure
The decisive factor in overturning not only the ordeal, but the fear of Christians to will the punishment of others, was the inauguration of systems of law—first canon law which began its development in the late eleventh century and, in its wake, secular legal systems. With this epic turning of the moral tide, a third factor was brought into the equation of viewing human weakness: an offense was not only an affront to God and to the victim, it was also an affront to the law. In light of this legal revolution, perhaps the most influential revolution in Western history, the meaning of human acts against their fellows took on a new appellation and gravity. They were not only sins that required forgiveness by a priest in confession, they were also crimes, and the offender had to be punished because he or she had broken the law.
Christian critiques of the penal system
....While approaching the issues from different theological and philosophical traditions, the above authors nevertheless agree on the problems with contemporary criminal justice and together begin to trace the outlines of a solution. The problems: institutional forces benefit from a destructive status quo; the public view of prisoners makes citizens indifferent to their plight; and an emphasis on individual responsibility fails to take seriously the systemic injustice that prisoners face. The solutions: remember that prisoners, too, are made in the image of God; address the systemic causes of crime; and learn to love the people touched by crime.
Intervention in church conflict
from the entry by Alexandria Skinner in JustPeace:
There is no such thing as a church without conflict. If your church has a conflict, that is something to be thankful for! Conflict means that people are engaged in the life of the church and that they have interests they care about. It is healthy for a church to acknowledge that it has some conflict, for then the causes of conflict can be brought to light and addressed, hopefully in a way that leaves people feeling like they have a better understanding of each other, of each other’s goals, and happy about the end result.
Indeed, the goal of peacemaking in a congregation is not to snuff out conflict and pretend that it doesn’t exist. Nor is it to go to war to route out various factions. In between these two options is a middle ground.