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A Spirituality of Reconciliation: Lessons from Rwanda

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2024

Marian Maskulak CPS*
Affiliation:
14128 84th Drive Apt.3C, Briarwood, New York, United States, 11435

Abstract

Robert Schreiter has examined the topic of a Christian understanding of reconciliation in the context of large scale global violence. One of his key notions is that, along with God's grace, forgiveness extended by the victim to the oppressor is the primary element that opens the path towards reconciliation. In this way, the victim acts as the subject or agent of reconciliation. Significantly, the object of reconciliation is the oppressor's humanity – not the act committed. Such a position correlates well with Julian of Norwich's depiction of a God of no blame and no wrath which may be best understood when one distinguishes between persons and their sinful acts. While work towards social and individual reconciliation continues in post‐genocide Rwanda, a number of bona fide acts of forgiveness by survivors are supportive of these views. Without dismissing the need for human accountability and for injustices to be addressed, people such as Immaculée Ilibagiza and Célestin Musekura have been able to take that first step of forgiving by distinguishing between the humanity of the perpetrator and the act committed. Their concrete examples provide a closer look at the dynamics of a Christian spirituality of reconciliation in its theological and practical realms.

Type
Original Article
Copyright
Copyright © 2016 Provincial Council of the English Province of the Order of Preachers

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References

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46 Ibid.

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59 Ibid., pp. 68, 113, 118‐19.