We Have Sinned: When Churches Say we are Sorry and the Politics of Apology and Reconciliation
William E. Carroll

While there is considerable recent scholarship on the “politics of apology,” reparations, and “repairing past injustices” when it comes to nations, there is much less when it comes to churches (organizational manifestations of faith traditions, themselves implicated in some of the worst human rights crimes) and their recent efforts to acknowledge and apologize for their roles and seek reconciliation with victims (Evangelical Lutherans and the Catholic Church and Jews in the Holocaust, South African Reformed Church and black South Africans, Southern Baptists and African Americans in the US, and more recently Catholic clergy and the genocide in Rwanda). This article proposes to fill in some of the gap, providing review of the cases, and just as importantly, in these reviews and in the concluding section drawing broader conclusions and insights regarding the role of institutions in mitigating the divisions, domestic and international, produced by the crimes in which they were historically implicated. From silence and even ideological and institutional complicity to acknowledgement, apology, and reconciliation: it is from these that historic wrongs can be ameliorated.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jgpc.v2n2a1