Catholic Peacebuilding and Mining: Integral Peace, Development, and Ecology


Catholic Peacebuilding and Mining: Integral Peace, Development, and Ecology, edited by CPN Assistant Director Caesar A. Montevecchio and CPN Coordinator Gerard F. Powers, explores the role of Catholic peacebuilding in addressing the global mining industry. Mining is intimately linked to issues of conflict, human rights, sustainable development, governance, and environmental justice. As an institution of significant scope and scale with a large network of actors at all levels and substantial theoretical and ethical resources, the Catholic Church is well positioned to acknowledge the essential role of mining, while challenging unethical and harmful practices, and promoting integral peace, development, and ecology. Drawing together theology, ethics and praxis, the volume reflects the diversity of Catholic action on mining and the importance of an integrated approach. It includes contributions by an international and interdisciplinary range of scholars and practitioners. They examine Catholic action on mining in El Salvador, Peru, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Philippines. They also address general issues of corporate social responsibility, human rights, development, ecology, and peacebuilding.

The book is now available as an open-access e-book.



Through the lens of Catholic Social Teaching, this remarkable collection reveals with exceptional range, depth and detail how the extractive industries assault waterways, agricultural lands, forests, and indigenous peoples, especially in the Amazon and Congolese river basins. Escalating environmental catastrophes make it plain that “all men of good will” (Pacem in terris) may soon be outmatched by the “selfish national interests” (Laudato Si’) that care more about status quo lifestyles and profits than about human dignity, the common good, or the planetary future. Catholic dioceses, organizations, and initiatives bring incredible energy and resources to mining reform; yet these authors do not stop with feel-good success stories. They challenge CST as a whole when they demonstrate how frequently greed and corruption triumph; argue that gender is not yet seriously on the table; and urge that the Church’s global networks be better leveraged to create political momentum. The results are provocative yet generative, critical yet future-building, realistic yet hopeful that faith communities can be the change-agents the planet needs. A highly enlightening read, not only for environmental defenders, but for all who want to know whether (and how) CST can meet today’s daunting crises.

Lisa Sowle Cahill, J. Donald Monan Professor of Theology, Boston College

Catholic Peacebuilding and Mining is a valuable contribution for both scholars and practitioners who seek to understand and address the significant human rights, economic, and social impacts of the global mining industry. The story of the last two decades of global campaigns to reduce resource-related conflict and increase transparency and accountability in the mining sector cannot be told without understanding the key role Catholic leaders and lay people have played to defend the rights of local communities and take on government and corporate power. At its best, the transnational and vertically integrated nature of the Catholic Church is well suited to address the global mining industry and this book provides important examples of advocacy success.

Ian Gary, Executive Director of the Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency (FACT) Coalition and former Senior Policy Advisor for Extractive Industries, Catholic Relief Services

For a long time, the National Episcopal Conference of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (CENCO) has been aware that the illegal exploitation of mineral resources in the east of the country has been a root cause of the miseries suffered by the Congolese people. It compromises peace and development, while aggravating poverty. CENCO has always sought to contribute to a judicious treatment of this problem. For years she has advocated for regulation of mining operations with Congolese and international authorities, including supporting passage of Section 1502 of the U.S. Dodd-Frank Act. CENCO’s efforts are part of the Catholic Church’s work around the world to put an end to illegal mining, one of the main causes of the exploitation of human beings and environmental degradation. In a very enlightening way, Catholic Peacebuilding and Mining: Integral Peace, Development and Ecology testifies to and gives an account of this essential struggle for the Church. I salute and thank the editors and contributors for successfully shedding light on various aspects of this important effort in the name of the gospel.

Bishop Nicolas Djomo Lola, Catholic Diocese of Tshumbe (Democratic Republic of the Congo), former president of the National Episcopal Conference of the Congo

This book tells us the painful stories of the indigenous populations and others who live in localities where mining centers have been installed, which are intended to drive economic development, but do not lift populations out of poverty. It shows how these peoples suffer from the pollution of their land, water and air; from the violation of their rights and dignity; and from the prolongation and creation of violent conflict. For the peoples who suffer these realities, the key word is hope. This book demonstrates well how the Catholic community can foster that hope, supporting peoples' rights, advocating for them at national and international levels, defending the environment, and encouraging and empowering people to persist in their struggles for integral human development and peace. The book echoes the encyclical Laudato Si' by encouraging Catholics to defend vulnerable communities and Mother Earth as an imperative of their faith.

Laura Vargas, Peru Country Coordinator, Interfaith Rainforest Initiative


Caesar A. Montevecchio and Gerard F. Powers

Ch. 1  "Mining and Peace: A Scriptural Reflection"
Cardinal Peter K.A. Turkson

SECTION 1: Catholic Engagement on Mining in Conflict Zones

Ch. 2  "Extractive Industries: Ethics, Practice, And Religious Engagement"
Katherine Marshall

Ch. 3  "The Catholic Approach to Extractives in Colombia: Pastoral Accompaniment Using an Eco-Theology of Peace"
Sandra Polanía-Reyes and Héctor Fabio Henao

Ch. 4  "The Mining Industry, Conflict, and the Church’s Commitment in the Democratic Republic of the Congo"
Rigobert Minani, SJ

Ch. 5  "Catholic Peacebuilding and Mining in the Philippines"
Karl M. Gaspar, CSSR

Ch. 6  "Dynamics Between the State, Mining Companies, and Indigenous Peoples in Peru"
José Bayardo Chata Pacoricona

Ch. 7  "The Prolonged Struggle against Metallic Mining in El Salvador and the Role of the Catholic Church"
Andrés McKinley

SECTION 2: Mining and Peace in Catholic Theology and Ethics

Ch. 8  "A Just Mining Framework for the Ethics of Extraction of Natural Resources and Integral Peace"
Tobias Winright

Ch. 9  "Integral Ecology, Just Peace, and Mining"
Anna Floerke Scheid and Daniel P. Scheid

Ch. 10  "Mining, Catholic Social Teaching, and International Human Rights"
Douglass Cassel

Ch. 11  "Development As Depth: Towards a Theology of Integral Human Development"
Clemens Sedmak

Ch. 12  "Catholic Development Ethics, Mining, and Peace: Attending to the Market’s Limitations"
Albino Barrera, OP

Ch. 13  "Good Governance for Mining and the Promotion of Peace in Africa"
Elias O. Opongo, SJ

Ch. 14  "Mining and the Call for Solidarity: The Networks We Have and the Synodal Network the Church Is Called to Be"
Vincent J. Miller

Ch. 15  "The Mining Industry: The Journey from Impunity to Consent"
Raymond Offenheiser

Ch. 16  "Hardrock Mining, Climate Change, and Conflict: Reflections Through the Lens of Catholic Social Thought"
William N. Holden and Caesar A. Montevecchio

Concluding Reflections
Laurie Johnston


Catholic Peacebuilding and Mining: Integral Peace, Development, and Ecology launch event, Las Casas Institute for Social Justice, Blackfriars Hall, Oxford University
March 1, 2022

Catholic Peacebuilding and Mining: Integral Peace, Development, and Ecology launch event, Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies
February 24, 2022

The Kroc Cast: Peace Studies Conversations, "Peace Policy Spotlight: Catholic Peacebuidling and Mining"
February 14, 2022

David Cortright, Professor Emeritus of the Practice at the Kroc Institute and Editor of the Kroc Institute’s Peace Policy publication sits down to talk with authors from the latest issue. This issue features reflections drawn from the new book, Catholic Peacebuilding and Mining: Integral Peace, Development, and Ecology published by Routledge in January, 2022.

Guests include one of the co-editors of the book and the Assistant Director of the Catholic Peacebuilding Network, Caesar Montevecchio; Father Rigobert Minani, S.J., head of research for the Peace, Human Rights, Democracy, and Good Governance Department at the Centre d’Etude Pour l’Action Sociale in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and team leader for the Ecclesial Network of the Congo Basin Forest; and Katherine Marshall, Senior Fellow at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, and Executive Director of the World Faiths Development Dialogue.

You can read all articles from this issue at