Restorative Justice in Light of the Lenten Gospels: A Five-Week Exploration

Restorative Justice in Light of the Lenten Gospels: A Five-Week Exploration

Each year as we observe Lent, we are invited to step aside from our usual patterns and enter into a season of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. These are not three separate practices. Rather, when practiced together, they lead us more deeply into the following of Christ.

This weekly Lenten series on restorative justice will lead you as an individual and as a member of society to a deeper appreciation of what it means to follow Christ when you are hurting or when you have been hurt, when you need healing, and when you are looking for new ways to restore relationships that are damaged.

What is Restorative Justice?

Restorative justice is a principled approach to addressing crime and harm which seeks to provide a framework that focuses on respect for all and right relationships by encouraging outcomes that promote responsibility, reparation, and healing.

Restorative justice resonates deeply with Gospel values and Catholic Social Teaching. Where human dignity and relationships are violated by injustice, we pursue a justice that upholds human dignity, builds relationships, seeks healing, and enables transformation within individuals, communities, and social systems.

A restorative approach to justice invites us within our individual lives, families, parishes, ministries, and communities to envision and innovate responses to harm which are based on these teachings and principles. 

Materials Needed

This weekly Lenten series is designed for individual or small group use, and follows along with Catholic Mobilizing Network’s faith formation guide, Harm, Healing, and Human Dignity: A Catholic Encounter with Restorative Justice (Liturgical Press, 2019). 

Harm, Healing, and human dignity book coverWhile using the book is strongly recommended, the series may also be completed without it. Each weekly module includes additional web-based resources and reference materials, all rich in wisdom.

Order your copy of Harm, Healing, and Human Dignity for $7.95. (E-book formats for $4.99. Bulk pricing options also available.)

Use code CMNLENT for a 10% discount

Navigating the Series

Click a week below to access a Lenten module.

First Week of Lent: When We Think About Justice
Second Week of Lent: When We Experience Harm
Third Week of Lent: When We Cause Harm
Fourth Week of Lent: When We Consider Communities, Systems, and Structures
Fifth Week of Lent: When We Become Agents of Restoration



Preparing for the Series: A Reflection on Restorative Justice and the Good Samaritan

Reflecting on the Parable of the Good Samaritan — a Scripture passage heavily referenced in Pope Francis’ recent papal encyclical, Fratelli Tutti — Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego offered these words:

“I propose to you today that these same characters of Jesus’ parable, passer-by, robber, victim and good Samaritan also reflect the power and the richness of an ethic of restorative justice… This means entering into the woundedness of both the victim by the side of the road and the humanity of the robber. It is far more expansive and demanding a notion of justice than procedural justice can ever hope to be.”