Restorative justice is an approach to justice that emphasizes living in right relationship and resonates deeply with Gospel values and Catholic social teaching. In restorative justice, crime and harm are understood in terms of the people and relationships impacted, rather than solely the law or rule that was broken. Restorative practices seek to repair harm through transformative encounters that model Jesus’ reconciling way.
In Catholic efforts to end the death penalty in the U.S., we are invited to imagine better, more Gospel-centered ways of responding to crime and violence. We pray the following resources on restorative justice will help prepare you and your community for this transformative work.
Paths of Renewed Encounter: A Restorative Justice Engagement Guide for Catholic Communities
Explore the foundational concepts of restorative justice and start discerning ways to integrate restorative practices within your Catholic community.
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What is Restorative Justice?
This one-page handout gives an introductory overview of restorative justice and opportunities to apply restorative practices in Catholic ministry. Use copies to complement an educational program or spread the word about restorative justice in your parish and community. Download here >>
Catholic Social Teaching and Restorative Justice
Rooted in both Scripture and the rich tradition of our faith, Catholic social teaching is a guide for how to live as a people of justice and mercy. Catholic social teaching brings the teachings of Jesus and his call to discipleship to the larger societal conversation of social justice.
Catholic social teaching has seven major themes: Dignity of the Human Person; Call to Family, Community, and Participation; Rights and Responsibilities; Preferential Option for and with People who are Poor; Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers; Solidarity; Care for God's Creation.
All of these principles are evident in restorative justice, “an approach to achieving justice that involves, to the extent possible, those who have a stake in a specific offense or harm to collectively identify and address harms, needs, and obligations in order to heal and put things as right as possible.”
In addition to repairing the harm done by wrongful behavior, restorative justice also fosters skills and attitudes that make injustice less likely to occur and easier to repair when it does. Learn More >>
Asking Restorative Questions
All of us have caused harm at some point in our lives; so too have we been harmed by others. When that happens, we have the opportunity to embrace a restorative mindset and pursue responses to the harm that model Jesus' reconciling way.
To accomplish this, asking a series of restorative questions can help us begin discerning how to repair the damage done.
CMN's Restorative Questions Card is sized to fit in your pocket or wallet and is meant to be carried with you. Download yours here >>