A Growth Industry

Peacebuilding
Catholic Theology, Ethics, and Praxis
Edited by Robert J. Schreiter, R. Scott Appleby, and Gerard F. Powers
Orbis Books, $30, 480 pp.

Sr. Mary Taricisia Lokot has spent most of her life working with children in northern Uganda, many of them victims of the savage thirty-year war between the government and the Lord’s Resistance Army. She has often negotiated with rebel leaders and run into child soldiers. She has helped many of these youngsters return to the community. “The child soldiers say, ‘Sister, take me home with you, please take me,’” she reports. “Leaving them there you feel heartbroken and you cannot even sleep at night.... They, the victims, cannot always speak for themselves so I need to [advocate for] them, to meet and console them, and to say one day, ‘The Lord will spare us.’ To give them hope.”

Sr. Mary is one of many powerful examples encountered in Peacebuilding. That term itself does not come as readily to mind as “peacemaking,” for UN circles only started using it in the early 1990s. But the term and the concept are now a “growth industry,” according to Maryann Cusimano Love, one of the contributors to this collection. She lists many institutions and initiatives that now use the term, including the U.S. government and a number of nongovernmental organizations. R. Scott Appleby, a co-editor of the collection, explains that “peacebuilding” is a more comprehensive approach to violent conflict, one that embraces the stages of conflict resolution, peacekeeping, and postwar social reconstruction. “Peacebuilders strive to address all phases of these protracted conflicts,...

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About the Author

Brian Stiltner is chair of the Department of Philosophy, Theology, and Religious Studies at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut.