The Politics of Mercy: Ambassadors of Reconciliation in Post-Genocide Rwanda


Rehm Library
College of the Holy Cross
Worcester, MA 01610
United States

Jay Carney, assistant professor of theology and director of African Studies at Creighton University, draws upon the situation in Rwanda to explore how the Pope’s call for a “year of mercy” happens within very difficult political contexts.

Despite the Catholic Church’s majority status and deep historical influence in Rwanda, Catholic reconciliation work in post-genocide Rwanda has received scant scholarly attention. Carney looks at Rwandan Catholic reconciliation initiatives in prison ministry, parish ministry, justice and peace commissions, and a spiritual retreat center, arguing that these case studies provide a theological tapestry of reconciliation themes concerning ritual, community, dialogue, forgiveness, and grassroots leadership. But deep ambiguities remain, especially concerning the institutional Church’s need to repent for corporate complicity in the 1994 genocide.