Forgiveness & Reconciliation

Public Policy & Conflict Transformation

by Raymond G. Helmick, Rodney Petersen

Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 1890151645
  • 9781890151492
  • 9781890151645
  • 9781890151997
  • 9781599470047

 This book brings together a unique combination of experts in the area of conflict resolution and focuses on the role forgiveness can play in the process. It deals with the theology, public policy, psychological and social theory, and social policy implementation of forgiveness.

The first section of the book explores how ideas like "forgiveness" and "reconciliation" are moving out from the seminary and academy into the world of public policy, and how these terms have been used and defined in the past. One of the contributors, Miroslav Volf, speaks to the Christian contribution of a more peaceful environment. The second section looks at forgiveness and public policy. One of the chapters, by Donald W. Shriver Jr., addresses forgiveness in a secular political forum.
The third section of the book draws us to a more particular analysis of the relationship between forgiveness and reconciliation from voices in the academic and theological community. John Paul Lederach presents five qualities of practice in support of the reconciliation process. John Dawson gives hope for peace-making in a new century. The final section highlights the work of practitioners currently working with religion, public policy, and conflict transformation, particularly in areas such as Ireland and Africa. This book will be an essential for libraries, scholars, conflict negotiators, and all people who hope to understand the role of forgiveness in the peace process.
Contributors include: Desmond M. Tutu, Rodney L. Petersen, Miroslav Volf, Stanley S. Harakas, Raymond G. Helmick, SJ, Joseph V. Montville, Douglas M. Johnston, Donna Hicks, Donald W. Shriver, Jr., Everett L. Worthington, Jr., John Paul Lederach, Ervin Staub, Laurie Anne Pearlman, John Dawson, Audrey R. Chapman, Olga Botcharova, Anthony da Silva, SJ, Geraldine Smythe, OP, Andrea Bartoli, Ofelia Ortega, and George F. R. Ellis.
  • Templeton Press; January 2008
  • ISBN: 9781890151645
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF format
  • Title: Forgiveness & Reconciliation
  • Author: Raymond G. Helmick (ed.); Rodney Petersen (ed.)
  • Imprint: Templeton Press
Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 1890151645
  • 9781890151492
  • 9781890151645
  • 9781890151997
  • 9781599470047

In The Press

CHOICEDecember 2001 Vol. 39 No. 04 This collection, from a 1999 Templeton Foundation/Harvard conference on how religion can affect conflict resolution in the public sphere, examines much of the theology of reconciliation and forgiveness from major Western religious traditions. It also examines the ambiguous role of religion in recent conflicts--both contributions to those conflicts and attempts to limit conflict and bring about reconciliation. As one author points out, "There is no innocent place to start." Religions, like everything else, are evolving, mainly toward calling up from their histories those traits that will be most useful in bringing about future peace. Reconciliation is an obvious instrument in churches' resources to address contemporary issues. However, when opposing sides continue to cherish selectively their traumas and glories, a lot of education needs to occur, even in successful forums like South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Reconciliation is not a quick process, not a matter of "fixing things" as many impatient Americans would like. "Track two diplomacy" and grass roots intercommunity activity seem to be the most fruitful contributions to current conflict resolution and reconciliation. Read this with Johnston's Religion: The Missing Dimension of Statecraft (CH, Feb'95). A directory of peace and justice organizations is helpful for student assignments. All readership levels. - D. A. Brown, emeritus, California State University, Fullerton.BANNER - Cleveland, TNMarch 29, 2002 Public policy makers, theologians and other experts in the area of conflict resolution explore the role forgiveness can play in "Forgiveness and Reconciliation: Religion, Public Policy, and conflict Resolution," edited by Raymond G. Helmick, S.J. and Rodney L. Petersen (Templeton Foundation Press).Bishop Desmond Tutu, in his foreword to this study, reflects on his experience in heading the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the aftermath of South Africa's agony of apartheid. He writes, "I have gone through the crucible of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and have been devastated by the extent of the evil revealed in the process. . . I have looked into the abyss of human evil and seen the depth to which we can; in fact plumb." Essays begin with an analysis of the theology of forgiveness, including an exploration of terminology, rhetoric and the dialectic of interfaith relationships; a discussion of the Christian contribution to a peaceful social environment; and a view of the Orthodox perspective on forgiveness.Issues of religion and identity and the chilling way in which they enter into and define conflict, are raised in essays that deal with forgiveness in the public-policy arena. Topics include: Does Religion Fuel or Heal in Conflicts?, The Role of Identity Reconstruction in Promoting Reconstruction, and What if Forgiveness in a Secular, Political Form? There follows an analysis of the relationship between forgiveness and reconciliation with perspectives that are diverse but represent primary voices in academic and theological community."Forgiveness and Reconciliation" concludes with a section on seeking forgiveness after tragedy. The essays highlight the work of a number of practioners currently working with religion, public policy and conflict transformation and include: Through Nonviolence to Truth: Gandhi's Vision of Reconciliation; Brokenness, Forgiveness, Healing and Peace in Ireland; Forgiveness and Reconciliation in the Mozambique Peach Process; and Conversion as a Way of Life in Cultures of Violence.Editors Raymond G. Helmick and Rodney L. Petersen summarize this study by noting: "Forgiveness is a word that makes for freedom. This is as true in southern Africa as it is in the Western Hemisphere. Forgiveness makes it possible to remember the past without being held hostage to it. Without forgiveness, there is no progress, no linear history, only a return to conflict and cycles of conflict."Forgiveness and Reconciliation" includes an appendix of Worldwide Organizations Promoting Forgiveness and Reconciliation.Helmick teaches conflict resolution in the department of theology at Boston College. He is also a senior associate of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.Petersen is executive director of the Boston Theological Institute. He teaches in the areas of history and ethics, currently focusing on issues of religion and violence. An ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church USA, Petersen is the author or editor of several articles and scholarly works."Forgiveness and Reconciliation", which was released in February, is available in most bookstores. Catholic Studies2002 The book documents the proceedings of a conference of public policymakers and theologians gathered in October 1999 for the symposium, Forgiveness and Reconciliation: Religious Contributions to Conflict Resolution, at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Mainly the John Templeton Foundation sponsored it. The title of the symposium is more precise than the book's title insofar as Public Policy is not very well present in the printed pages. We find a substantial account of what certain religious people and institutions contribute to national crises worldwide by means of conflict resolution and the promotion of reconciliatory proactive efforts in dealing with disastrous situations. There are also theological and religious statements about the significance of forgiveness in the creation of reconciliation. Moreover, there are reports of success stories in concentrated strategies of significant religious authorities and their associations. Such accounts are very valuable for an incorporation of energies dedicated to the redeeming features of forgiveness and reconciliation for those caught in destructive attitudes and related policies. Those who are already involved welcome this publication as a prized substantiation of their ideals to inform others about the fruits of their labors and the related theologies and religious theories. Novices in this field will find a voluminous and respectable introduction into organized efforts in areas where the spirit of peace is needed to stop disaster and genocide.Because the specialization on forgiveness and reconciliation is rather new in public policy, this is a good beginning in terms of its documentation and the collections of related religious theories. Such beginnings deserve to be sponsored by the Templeton foundation. Its contributors who are mainly associated with Catholic/Christian institutions and/or Centers of International Studies characterize the menu.Academically, the contributors belong to the humanities and the social studies sectors on campus. They are well spoken and present convincing anecdotal information relevant for a needed understanding of their dedication to peace and reconciliation by emphasizing the significance of forgiveness in political arenas. They are activists committed to this enormously important cause. Their arguments are well stated and as such deserve attention and following. Many contributors have worked at the battlegrounds and were instrumental in channeling reconciliatory energies in mindful ways toward improvements in mutual understanding and related policies. The record of editor, Raymond G. Helmick, is impressive. Similarly exemplary are the noted accomplishments of many of his associates, e.g., Douglas Johnston, Donna Hicks, Olga Botcharova, Audrey Chapman, Ervin Staub, and Laurie Pearlman and others. Readers can be inspired by the dedication and professionalism they bring to this much-needed concentration on reconciliation.The strength of the book is its weakness, and its weakness is its strength. Most contributors are rooted in the Western humanities and are very eloquent in Christian adaptations of such history. The documentation of their insights is very valuable. However, significantly absent are voices from outside this tradition. For example, there is no inclusion of the Muslim world and their sophisticated laws about peace making and reconciliation. Although there are some traces of venturing into more scientific perceptions of human nature (e.g., Joseph Montville's description of "Psychological Man" p.99-107), physiological roots of reconciliation and compassion are not explored. Although much can be learned from philosophies of Eastern religions, this wisdom is left untapped.In regard to physiology, modern neurological research and its studies of human emotions record the need for educating the rational potential of human minds. Forgiveness is not just a religious aspect. It is part of the human repertory facilitating effective and productive living. (Cf. on stress, Health, and the Social Environment: A Sociobiologic Approach to Medicine by J.P. Henry and P.M. Stephens, College Press, 1994.) Connections with such physiological dimensions may prove beneficial in taking reconciliation out of its religious wrappings and allowing it to be understood in more natural terms. (The Institute for Research on Unlimited Love at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH, among other areas, sponsors research in evolutionary perspectives of Darwinian biology and altruism.) Physio-psychological studies also explain how religious mentalities can be very divisive by a need for demonizing those who are different from their indoctrinated groups. Helmick asks the question, "Does Religion Fuel or Heal in Conflicts?" His answers are somewhat defensive in favor of the healing capacity of religions. Distinctions should be made between "religion" and "religious." One can be religious without having a religion.Obviously, by their very nature, religions create boundaries and differentiate between "us" and the others. Moreover, the "us" is better than what is outside "us." This sets the stage for an unnecessary demonizing, which fuels conflicts, as can be seen worldwide and throughout human history. (Cf. A. Toynbee, A Study of History. London: Oxford University Press, 1972.) In Human Rights: The Midlife Crisis (The New York Review, May 1999, 58-62) Michael Ignatieff, a history professor at the London School of Economics, reports that the formulation of a Universal Declaration of Human Rights, started in 1947, received much criticism from organized religions and their authorities. They opposed the idea that human rights are rooted in human nature. They wanted rights to be authorized by a divine authority. This is often the prejudice of organized religions. Truly religious people may have the greatness of heart and mind to transcend such tribalistic mentalities in the name of a compassionate spirituality.As a final note, people favoring political actions in the promotion of reconciliation by means of forgiveness are to embrace a spirituality that transcends denominational attitudes. More universal mentalities are often rooted in much education and an enlightenment flowing from true introspection and a continuous moral development. After all, Lawrence Kohlberg concluded that after his six stages of moral development, a seventh stage emerges energized by a mystical awareness of a universal consciousness. Reconciliation is not just political correct in the name of a theological or religious embrace of forgiveness. There shall be discussions of forgiveness knowing that some may be unwise and can be destructive psychologically and mentally. Chapman mentions The Fall to Violence by Marjorie Suchocki. This may be a good reference for a future symposium on forgiveness.This book is also valuable for listing at the end "Worldwide Organizations Promoting Forgiveness and Reconciliation." Seeing all these concerted efforts makes one feel good and hopeful about the future of humanity.Charles Villa-Vicencio: Executive Director-Institute for Injustice and Reconciliation, Cape Town, South Africa.2002 A dominant paradigm in thinking about reconciliation, not least in theological circles, suggests that forgiveness precedes reconciliation. The sequence is well known: confession, repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation. This conventional wisdom need to be questioned in the light of entrenched social or national conflicts. In the hard world of political conflict, initiating the peace process is more important than an ideal outcome. And, ultimately, personal reconciliation may not be vastly different. There is no reason to suggest that forgiveness should necessarily precede personal reconciliation. An emerging sense of interdependence, which requires tolerance and empathy, perhaps the beginning of a relationship-even to the initial phases of friendship, is frequently the first step in any reconciling process. Indeed, most nations and individual relationships survive quite well on less than ideal or complete reconciliation, which includes forgiveness and everyone living happily ever after. Put differently, to focus on an ideal theological notion of reconciliation, rather than a more modest understanding of reconciliation as a process with limited beginnings, is both conceptually confusing and practically counter-productive.The pursuit of a greater goal is at the same time necessary to ensure that the initial step in the process does not become the final one. A lack of movement beyond the first hesitant step in rapprochement can only serve to fuel the suspicion of the critics of political gradualism, who reject the process as little more than the rearranging of furniture on a vessel that drifts ever closer to disaster.It is helpful to declare and be conscious of one's context and perspective. This review is written from within the wake of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. I do so mindful of the fact that few of us predicted much more than disaster for South Africa in the late 1980s. The breakthrough came not as a result of any Damascus Road experience. It came as a result of a series of encounters within which protagonists on opposing sides began to make contact with each other. Tentative, fragile steps were taken that led to "talks about talks." In the process, cautious relationships were forged. This opened the way for a search for peace and the beginning of a reconciling process.Not every contributor to the book under review will agree with the underlying perception of reconciliation as a process preceding and ideally incorporating forgiveness. And yet all the contributions enrich the discussion on the complexity of the relationship between reconciliation and forgiveness. Anthony da Silva addresses the sequence question quite explicitly, drawing on Robert Schreiter's suggestion that a more appropriate sequence may be: "reconciliation, forgiveness, repentance" (304). In an important contribution to the book, Miroslav Volf reminds us that there are no "autonomous and self-constituting entities" in human relations (40). It is through human encounter that the healing process begins. This does not suggest that repentance, justice, and other important dimensions of human relations are to be suspended indefinitely or played down in any other way. To Volf "the struggle against injustice is part of the more fundamental pursuit of reconciliation" (35). The pursuit of forgiveness is, in a similar sense, a goal that needs to sustain the reconciliation process. It is not, however, something that needs to precede the process. I am arguing that it rarely does. Lederach speaks of the need for "a relationship-centric approach to reconciliation" (185). He suggests it involves a "multifaceted journey," in pursuit of a goal not yet reached (186). "Reconciliation is both place, as in destination, and a journey" (186). In the words of Ofelia Ortega, "…conversation is not a momentary act of moral decision, but a process of learning and a new way of learning and a new way of living" (384). The African concept of ubuntu, introduced by Audrey Chapman, suggests that a person is only a person through other persons. In the words of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, it means "my humanity is caught up, is inextricably bound up in yours." As such, "social harmony is for us the summum bonum-the greatest good" (258). It places dialogue and reciprocity at the center of the struggle to be fully human. It suggests that people are incomplete to the extent that they are alienated from each other. Often neglected at the height of war, rebellion and conflict, it is the hope that inspires conflict resolution, peacemaking, and the need for coexistence. Is this an anthropological reality? A philosophy of ubuntu suggests it is. It recognizes that the process of seeking to be fully human refuses to submit to fate. It involves the creation of the kind of future that enables people to engage one another in the creation of a society that includes all others. Da Silva speaks of "a common psychological need all humans share, which is to want to live in harmony with fellow humans while minimizing the stresses and strains of conflict" (305).Of course this is not easy. There are many obstacles that undermine the process-bad memories, deep and abiding levels of hurt, the need for acknowledgement of past suffering, reparation and justice. No one has the right to prevail on victims and perpetrators to forgive or be reconciled. The question is whether victims and survivors can be assisted to move on-to get on with the rest of their lives in the sense of not allowing anger or self-pity to be the all-consuming dimension of their existence. It involves taking responsibility not only for their own lives and healing but also for the future direction of the nation. It is important, for their own sake that those who suffered most are enabled to get on with life. This does not mean forgetting the ghastly deed. This is usually not possible and probably not helpful. It does not mean necessarily becoming friends with the person responsible for one's suffering, nor does it mean forgiving that person. Very few accomplish this. Perhaps most people can only deal with their past suffering intermittently, at times rising above, it at times falling under its sway. Don Shriver quotes William Faulkner: "The past is not dead and gone, it isn't even past" (152). In da Silva's words, "no general pattern will obtain; no uniform model need or should be imposed for peoples hoping to live together" (306). Differently put, any suggestion that confession and forgiveness is a precondition of forgiveness could be counter-productive in deeply divided societies. An approach that identifies reconciliation as process rather than goal could be more helpful. I am suggesting that this pastoral approach is not an alternative to, but an inherent part of a viable prophetic ethic of reconciliation and forgiveness. Helmick and Peterson tell us their book is about "political penitence." "Its horizon is not confessional, but public policy and conflict resolution" (xvii). It is this that makes the question of 'sequence' important. In the world of politics, where 'the art of the possible' prevails, the question of how to attain a given end is as important as the end itself. The means is indeed inherent to the end. This book contains a lot of theology, offered in the service of the public square rather than the pew. Such a theology is required to explore the hindrances and potential contributions of religion to the realization of "political penitence." Volf suggests this process may well be better served by more religion of the correct kind-involving "costly discipleship," rather than less religion (35). This is, however, a process that may require theologians to take seriously the challenge presented to the church more than a half century ago by Dietrich Bonhoeffer from his prison cell, which is to proclaim the gospel in secular language. Effectively this involves using language that is understood by secular society and refraining from the kind of dogmatism that seeks to prescribe the how and when and where repentance, forgiveness, repentance should occur. These are, after all, gracious and mysterious gifts of a gracious God.The book is divided into four parts: the first, entitled, a theology of reconciliation, addresses the theological content of key words, the dialectic of forgiveness and theological models of reconciliation and forgiveness, in a deepening discussion on the relationship between justice, reconciliation, and forgiveness. It ends with an orthodox perspective on reconciliation and forgiveness. The contributions come from Rodney Peterson, Miroslav Volf and Stanley Harakas. The second part, dealing with forgiveness and public policy, includes chapters by Raymond Helmic, Joseph Montville, Donna Hicks and Donald Shriver. The question is posed whether religion is a source of fuel or healing in situations of conflict. There is a chapter on religion and peacemaking; another on religion and foreign policy. Religion is considered in the reconstruction of identity, and the important question is asked concerning the form and nature of forgiveness in secular politics. Part three considers the relationship between forgiveness and reconciliation. It provides a number of diverse voices from the fields of clinical psychology, regional conflict mediation, the social sciences, and global youth ministry. The contributions are by Everett Worthington, John Paul Lederach, Ervin Staub and Laurie Anne Pearlman, and John Dawson. This is an important and action-driven section of the book, which provides a number of practical ways of "reducing unforgiveness" (Worthington), discussion on "qualities of practice that lend themselves to reconciliation" (Lederach), a focus on "healing, reconciliation and forgiving after genocide and other collective violence," with a focus on Rwanda (Staub and Pearlman). Dawson points to a number of specific areas of concern in western civilization that require attention in pursuit of less violence and conflict. Part Four, seeking forgiveness after tragedy, addresses specific situations of conflict. These include South Africa, Northern Ireland and Mozambique. Specific mechanisms and ways of promoting forgiveness and reconciliation are considered within these situations and more generally. These include truth and reconciliation commissions, a two-track diplomacy methodology, a Gandhian approach to reconciliation, and a Christian notion of conversion (metanoia) as a means of peacemaking. An afterward is provided by George Ellis, picking up on a number of concerns raised in the book, exploring these as they apply to personal, regional and national, and international life. The foreword is by Archbishop Tutu. The poor man has written so many forewords for so many books. Rising yet again to the occasion, he provides the kind of inspiration that keeps the kind of debate going that is addressed in this book.An important message of this book is that there are no neat and tidy formulas that make for forgiveness and reconciliation. John Paul Lederach's word is an important one: "unlike other areas of conflict management more narrowly defined, reconciliation processes do not lend themselves to reductuctionist techniques…qualities of practice point us less in the direction of technique and more towards attitude and character" (184). The consideration of reconciliation techniques is imperative, talk about reconciliation is important, and the identification of lessons learned from reconciling initiatives is essential. This is what makes this particular book such an important one. And yet who, it needs to be asked, is ultimately in a position to define the meaning of reconciliation for another or to prescribe the techniques of the process? Ultimately the Spirit blows where it wills and reconciliation happens in different places in different ways. Vigilance is required in order to discern the possibilities of reconciliation where and when they occur. Wortherinton's careful analysis of mechanisms that lead to the "reducing of unforgiveness" (166) and that promote reconciliation and forgiveness can only facilitate such discernment. Equally important is the insight provided by Joseph Montville into the "psychological man" (99) and the "religious man" (107). He speaks of the separation of consciences in Nazi doctors, "the half that accepted systematic murder and the other half that enjoyed a quiet evening at home with wife, children and dog" (102)-posing the important question concerning the societal and personal causes of perpetration.Indeed, this is frequently a key ingredient to the reconciliation process. The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission was mandated to do more than account for who did what to whom. It was required to discern the "causes, motives, and perspectives" of perpetrators. The aim of this requirement was not to lessen the culpability of perpetrators. It was rather to identify these factors with a view to ensure that their re-emergence in the future is at least minimized, if not eliminated. The most effective way to counter gross human rights violations is, of course, through prevention. It is here that the present anticipates the future. And it is here that reconciliation work needs to begin.The discernment of causes, motives and perspectives can also impact on the attitudes behavior of victims and survivors. Without condoning or justifying the behavior or perpetrators in any way, in some instances it enables victims and survivors to begin to see perpetrators as a different kind-of propaganda, religious indoctrination, fear, disillusionment and a culture of submission. Madame de Stael (the late eighteenth century French intellectual) suggested that "to understand all is to forgive all." Understanding does not, of course, necessarily lead to reconciliation. It may even aggravate the sense of anger and alienation. And yet, when the story of a perpetrator is thoughtfully told, empathetically heard, deeply understood, it can soften the perception the victim, survivor or observer has of the perpetrator concerned. It can open a space for the possibility of a new kind of interaction between adversaries. Jozef Garlinski, a Polish underground fighter, who survived Auschwitz, tells of the horrendous evil he witnessed and himself suffered. He ends his account by saying, "please remember those young SS officers could have been your sons or mine." In understanding the perpetrator, we may begin to understand the forces that make for evil. We discover the power of these forces and we begin to realize that the enemy (the German, the Serb, or the white Afrikaner) does not have a monopoly on moral insanity. We discover that maybe there is a little perpetrator in each of us. It is this that makes unconditional negative judgment of another a little more difficult. As such, it can open the possibility of a basis for interaction in the present that could lead to a new kind of future.Forgiveness and Reconciliation is about what can be done to facilitate a reconciling process between estranged individuals, hostile factions within a nation, or between warring countries. Lederach suggests, "it is a paradox of sorts that human concern for and interest in reconciliation is as old as the hills and at the same time in a preinfancy stage" (183). This important book makes an important contribution to furthering our understanding of the complexities surrounding reconciliation. It edges us towards a level of maturity that impacts on personal, national, and international quests for conflict transformation and reconciliation.Anglican Theological ReviewSeptember 2002 The essays contained in this volume originated at a conference of "public policy-makers and theologians" on topics of mutual concern. As one might expect in the early stages of such a dialogue, the contents do not always cohere particularly well. The title and subtitle of the collection actually reflect two rather different foci for the collection.As a discussion of "forgiveness and reconciliation," the volume focuses on the kind of process embodied in South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It embraces an appropriately broad range of opinion, from those who praise the Commission's work to those who find fault with it as failing to give adequate attention to the demands of justice, the inequalities of social power, and the needs of victims.The other focus of the volume has to do more with the role of religious leaders (mainly Christian) in "track two diplomacy," that is, diplomacy involving non-governmental organizations. One particularly notable example has been the contribution of the Community of Sant'Egidio and other religious leaders in resolving civil conflict in Mozambique. These endeavors, while aiming at reconciliation, do not necessarily invoke forgiveness as the primary means to that end.There are a few essays particularly worthy of note. Miroslav Volf offers a powerful account of the ways in which Christian faith encourages those who profess it to be peacemakers. I wish he had also written a bit more about why this does not occur more often. John Paul Lederach brings secular and theological perspectives together to shape and activist spirituality in his "Five Qualities of Practice in Support of Reconciliation Processes."Olga Botcharova does and excellent job of showing what non-governmental organizations can do that governments typically cannot. Her analysis of the dynamics of revenge and forgiveness is concrete and sophisticated. And she articulates both the distinction and the connection between forgiveness and reconciliation, something I also stressed in my Forgiven and Forgiving.Geraldine Smyth, writing out of her experience in Northern Ireland, has created a rich and thoroughly embodied theological statement about "Brokenness, Forgiveness, Healing." It deserves wide circulation. And Andrea Bartoli gives a humble and measured account of his community's role in the peacemaking process in Mozambique, while warning against easy assumptions about what religious leadership can contribute in such situations or about the part to be played by forgiveness.Not everything in the volume lives up to the high standards set by these writers. But the collection does belong in libraries where it can alert readers to an urgent dimension of world affairs and a new collaboration of government and religious leaders that is currently in the formative stages. It includes an appendix of "Worldwide Organizations Promoting Forgiveness and Reconciliation." Given the high aims of the volume, it is regrettable that more attention was not given to copyediting and proofreading.Theology DigestFall 2002 This book grew out of a 1999 conference public policymakers and theologians at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. The 18 contributions are arranged under four headings: 1) The Theology of Forgiveness, 2) Forgiveness and Public Policy, 3) Forgiveness and Reconciliation, and 4) Seeking Forgiveness After a Tragedy. There is a Foreword by Archbishop Desmond M. Tutu, and Afterward by George F. R. Ellis of the University of Cape Town, an appendix which profiles "Worldwide Organizations Promoting Forgiveness and Reconciliation," and an index.Theological StudiesSeptember 2003 vol 64 no 23 This "study in political patience" (xvii) brings together insights of Christian theologians, policy analysts, psychologists, social theorists, and conflict mediators who variously strive to make a case for forgiveness and reconciliation within the arena of public policy. The editors describe this growing emphasis in terms of a horizon shift: if forgiveness and reconciliation were formerly conceived against the background of the confessional, they are now being considered with a view to the much wider world of public policy. Accordingly, Helmick and Peterson have assembled essays that primarily give voice to what the new "discoverers" of forgiveness and reconciliation are saying about these ideas. That interest is complemented by a secondary concern to bring these voices into conversation with traditional theologies of forgiveness. The text is limited by a diffuse focus, inconsistent quality, and excessive contemporaneousness. Nevertheless, the work fills a void by attempting to unite streams that have yet to sufficiently interact. Several constructive proposals emerge. A first comes from the volume's theologians, who address in turn the ontological ground of forgiveness and reconciliation (Peterson), the order and dynamics of

About The Author

 Raymond G. Helmick, SJ, teaches conflict resolution in the Department of Theology at Boston College. He has mediated in a number of conflicts in Northern Ireland, various Middle Eastern conflicts amd tje Balkan countries, among many others. He is on the executive board of the U.S. Interreligious Committee for Peace in the Middle East and served as senior associate of the Center for Strategic and International Studies from 2000–2004. He is the author of numerous monographs and articles.

Rodney L. Petersen is executive director of the Boston Theological Institute, and teaches in the areas of history and ethics, currently focusing on issues of religion and violence. He is the author or editor of numerous articles and books including Consumption, Population, and Sustainability and Earth at Risk.