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Northen Ireland: A Study of Friendship, Forgiveness, and Reconciliation

Wells, Ronald A.
June 4, 2015

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. 189-220

In this chapter I will place the discussion of “forgiveness and reconciliation in politics” in the discrete reality of Northern Ireland. But before getting into the main point of the chapter we need to acknowledge the intellectual debt that all scholarly peace seekers owe to Scott Appleby. His recent book “The Ambivalence of the Sacred: Religion, Violence, and Reconciliation” will help to reshape the subject this book seeks to illumine. If this chapter has value it is in specifying in greater depth the Northern Irish particulars of themes that Appleby displays on a larger canvas. As Appleby suggests, the instance of the search for peace in the Northern Irish “troubles” affords the observer a rare occurrence of a homegrown peace transformation that might actually work well. This is so because the institutional arrangements of many churches and para-religious organizations have been, in his terms, “saturated” with a will toward peace. The obverse of “saturation” seems also to be true: the conflict is so intractable because dysfunctional behavior is not confined to the realm of politics but permeates the whole of Northern Irish life. (excerpt)


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