Catholic Social Teaching Peace Building Essay

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Defined formally as “efforts to promote economic, social, and political reconstruction and reconciliation after internal conflicts,” peace building is a necessary and integral component of Catholic Social Teaching (CST) (Sullivan & Pagnucco, 2014, p. 113). In fact, from a CST perspective, peace building is a more meaningful and expansive project integrated into Christian ethics and identity. CST engages partners at various levels, including government organizations and the private sector, to usher in a new and transformed world. Partnering with a wide range of actors and stakeholders makes peace building highly complex and potentially problematic, particularly when conflicts of interest may arise. While some peace building activities can seem straightforward in their approach, philosophy, and implementation, many reveal the fissures deep within a society that prevent the efficacy of intervention.

The Church has always been oriented towards social justice. Therefore, peace building must be one of the cornerstones of Church action. Peace building functions effectively as a “soft power,” as Sullivan and Pagnucco (2014) point out (p. 115). A soft power allows the Church to conduct specific peace building activities without being directly involved with power brokering or formal politics. The Church could, however, serve as mediator or advocate to help garner resources, coordinate support, and provide the means by which peace infrastructure can be constructed and maintained.

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Moreover, peace building is the essential extension of core Catholic values and spiritual teachings, which ideally mirror the ministry of Christ. Sullivan & Pagnucco (2014) also reflect on the three assets of Church “soft power” that impact the effectiveness and scope of peace building endeavors: those three assets include theology, people power, and “enormous institutional capacity,” (p. 115). In other words, peace building is the fundamental means by which the Church legitimizes its authority and transmutes its social, cultural, political, and economic power into social justice.

Peace building also entails the collaborative action of an increasingly integrated world. Universal human rights and ethics are built into the peace building process. At times, peace building means taking decisive action via activism or fundraising. At other times, peace building means opposing the instruments and institutions of war and conflict. Peace building is also peace promotion in domestic and foreign policy, wherever the Church operates. Organizations like Catholic Relief Services operates in more than three dozen countries, serving millions of people on more than 70 different projects. Because of the unparalleled extent of Catholic….....

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Catholic Relief Services (2018). Justice and peacebuilding.

Sullivan, S.C. & Pagnucco, R. (2014). A Vision of Justice. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press.

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