Why a Catholic Peacebuilding Network?
The Catholic Church is blessed with many “artisans of peace” working at all levels of society to prevent conflicts from breaking out, resolve conflicts once started, and reconcile divided societies after conflicts have ended. The CPN aims to serve and complement, not supplant or duplicate, these efforts by responding to four needs:
- Building capacity. Catholic peacebuilders too often lack skills and resources. The CPN links peacebuilders to those who can provide the training, strategic planning, and other resources that might be necessary for the Catholic community to be a more effective force for peace in areas of conflict.
- Deepening solidarity. Too often, the Church’s artisans of peace feel isolated. The CPN convenes and connects peacebuilders from around the world in order to build and deepen relationships of solidarity.
- Sharing best practices. Much of the Church’s work for peace, especially at a local level, is not well known or well understood. The CPN stimulates a more systematic sharing, mapping, and analysis of the “best practices” of Catholic peacebuilding around the world.
- Developing a theology of peacebuilding. Many have called for the development of a theology of peace that is comparable in scope and sophistication to the Church’s teaching on the use of force. The CPN stimulates further reflection on peacebuilding as a conceptually coherent, theologically accurate, spiritually enlivening, and practically effective contribution to the Church’s broader teaching on justice and peace.
Lisa Sowle Cahill shares her experiences with CPN over a five-year period in Religious Identity, Justice, and Hope: The Case of Peacebuilding, Criterion, alumni magazine of the University of Chicago Divinity School, Volume 47, No. 1, Spring/Summer 2010, pp. 2-9.