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A Catholic Perspective

Restorative justice is at the heart of Jesus' mission.

Every healing story or forgiveness story in the New Testament is about both physical and spiritual healing and about reuniting the individual with the greater family and community.

The story of the Prodigal Son is one among many where the offender (the son) is embraced by the offended (the father), who celebrates his "lost son" by reuniting him with the whole household.

Restorative justice is also eucharistic in that our celebrations together reflect the reality that we are all both sinners and saints-in-the-making. As such, we need the binding sustenance of relationship with the Divine and with each other to fortify ourselves, our families, and our communities into one Body of Christ.

The Gospel calls us to be ministers of reconciliation, believing that healing and redemption are always possible.

Restorative practices offer concrete methods to live out this call in public and shepherd processes that allow such transformation to take place.

There are countless ways that Scripture and Catholic theology support this approach. This section seeks to highlight a few.

Truth, in fact, is an inseparable companion of justice and mercy. All three together are essential to building peace; each, moreover, prevents the other from being altered.... Truth should not lead to revenge, but rather to reconciliation and forgiveness. (Pope Francis, "Fratelli Tutti," 211)



Content contributors to this section included Fr. Larry Dowling.