Eli McCarthy, Ph.D., teaches at Georgetown University in Theology as well as Justice and Peace Studies. His recent book is an edited volume called A Just Peace Ethic Primer: Building Sustainable Peace and Breaking Cycles of Violence (2020). He has also published Becoming Nonviolent Peacemakers: A Virtue Ethic for Catholic Social Teaching and U.S. Policy (2012) Since 2012, he has worked on federal policy with advocacy coalitions on peacebuilding, foreign policy, immigration, environment, etc. Presently, he is a Just Peace Fellow with the Franciscan Action Network. and is the co-founder of the DC Peace Team.
Pope Francis proclaims: “There was a time, even in our churches, when people spoke of a holy war or a just war. Today we cannot speak in this manner.” Yet, we can and have been invited by Francis and others to speak in the manner of centering nonviolence.
A transformative justice approach with restorative mechanisms works to break this logic of de-humanization and build more humanizing social processes. Accountability, as distinct from punishment, is about better understanding the harm, growing in empathy, acknowledging responsibility, and moving in the direction of changing harmful behavior.