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Religion, Civil Society, and Peace in Northern Ireland$
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John D. Brewer, Gareth I. Higgins, and Francis Teeney

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199694020

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199694020.001.0001

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Weaknesses in the Churches’ Peacemaking

Weaknesses in the Churches’ Peacemaking

(p.172) Chapter 4 Weaknesses in the Churches’ Peacemaking
Religion, Civil Society, and Peace in Northern Ireland

John D. Brewer

Gareth I. Higgins

Francis Teeney

Oxford University Press

This chapter exposes the weakness of the churches in their approach to peacemaking. The authors illuminate the fractures within the churches, with many clerics disagreeing on how to bring about peace. Frustration with official policy led some to go it alone in secret. Criticism is made of the institutional church, in the form of church hierarchies and leadership, which were slow to react, minimalist in their efforts and ready to deny involvement. Religious peacebuilding was left to individual churchmen and women, independents and mavericks. This approach is called individualization, allowing the churches as institutions to remain unchallenged by the sectarian conflict. The authors go to great lengths to demonstrate that what churches really wanted was conflict transformation rather than social transformation, negative rather than positive peace, in order to be able to reproduce themselves as collective religions.

Keywords:   conflict transformation, social transformation, individualization, collective religions, religious peacebuilding

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