Facilitated Dialogue: The Political Theology of Fr Alec Reid

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This essay analyses the ‘peace ministry’ of Fr Alec Reid C.Ss.R. (1931–2013), who was instrumental in the 1980s and early 1990s in the Northern Ireland peace process especially in fostering dialogues within the nationalist community. It seeks to account for Reid’s political theology by way of contextualising his words and deeds in the wider European theological landscape of his time, with special reference to the ‘new political theology’ of Johann Baptist Metz and Catholic Social Teaching.
The argument is that, although elements of Reid’s political theology of facilitated dialogue can be traced variously to post-Vatican II theological developments in the Catholic Church, the Redemptorist tradition, and theological reflections by his contemporaries in Northern Ireland, his unusual emphasis on the interventionist role of the Church in a ‘conflict situation’ can only be explained by his deep concern for the ‘next-victim-as-neighbour’, which in turn seems to have arisen from the ‘inappropriate guilt’ he felt for the victims of republican violence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-76
Number of pages15
JournalGlencree Journal
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

User-Defined Keywords

  • Alec Reid
  • Northern Ireland
  • political theology
  • dialogue
  • conflict resolution


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