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‘Criminal justice’: What does it mean for a people who believe they are called to overcome evil with love?

Berzins, Lorraine
June 4, 2015

Source: (2002) Sermon presented at Olivet United Church, Hamilton, Ontario, 27 October. Ottawa: The Church Council on Justice and Corrections.

Speaking at a Restorative Justice Week gathering in Canada, Lorraine Berzins explores what it means for Christians to respond to evil in love in view of the hard realities of crime. As she says, we want a compassionate and merciful justice for ourselves when we do wrong, but we often want a swift and strict justice for others when they do wrong, especially when they do wrong to us. The criminal justice system reflects and expresses this latter sense of justice, a retributive justice applied to people construed as different from us. Yet Berzins questions this retributive approach to justice and crime. She argues that our way of doing justice needs healing. She relates her own experiences as a social worker and minister in prisons to explain and illustrate the changes in her perspectives, and she weaves into all of this what it means to love those who do us wrong as God loves them and us.


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