Forgiving When It Feels Impossible
Restorative justice is a way of understanding crime in terms of the people and relationships that were harmed, rather than the law that was broken. Restorative justice values human dignity, healing and the hope of redemption for all involved.
Restorative practices involve those most impacted by a harm in transformative encounter. Beyond the criminal justice system, there are countless opportunities use restorative practices in our personal lives, parishes, and communities.
Catholic Mobilizing Network and Restorative Justice
Restorative justice has been at the heart of CMN’s mission since the organization’s inception because of its relationship with families who are directly affected by the death penalty. Their personal stories and lived experience with restorative encounter echo the profoundly transformative gospel message of forgiveness and reconciliation.
Restorative Justice and the Death Penalty
The death penalty is an affront to human dignity in its blatant destruction of human life and its disproportionate use upon people who are poor and marginalized. Capital punishment is the epitome of punitive practice that offers no possibility for redemption, only perpetuating a culture of death. Restorative justice helps us to envision creative ways to address harm that promote hope, healing, and human dignity. As society embraces more restorative approaches to harm, the use of the death penalty will move even closer to its inevitable end.
How CMN Promotes Restorative Justice
CMN works to increase understanding and engagement in restorative justice practices among Catholics. Through educational materials, spiritual formation, and sharing stories, CMN inspires Catholics to apply the principles and practices of restorative justice in their parishes, ministries, and public life to transform our broken criminal justice system.
Recognizing that there are many ways to walk alongside, minister to and advocate for those impacted by crime, CMN seeks to transform harm and violence by promoting:
Use of restorative practices such as circle process and victim-offender dialogue that include all parties impacted (harmed party, responsible party, and community members) to the greatest extent possible
A focus on root-causes of violence including experiences of trauma
Awareness of marginalization based on race and the role it plays in perpetuating cycles of incarceration