Source: (2006) In, Philpott Daniel, editor, The Politics of Past Evil: Religion, Reconciliation, and the Dilemmas of Transitional Justice University of Notre Dame Press pp. 151-182

The essays in this collection explore different moral, legal, and institutional resources available in promoting national reconciliation in the aftermath of deep injustices. Here I examine the potential role of political forgiveness in reckoning with gross human rights abuses of past regimes. While forgiveness is rarely practiced in politics, it nevertheless remains an important resource for confronting systemic wrongdoing. Because deep political cleavages frequently persist in transitional societies and because of the intractability of justice, collective forgiveness may provide an alternative means by which societies can pursue both national unity and the consolidation of democratic institutions. (excerpt)