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Theories of International Relations and Northern Ireland$
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Timothy J. White

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781784995287

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781784995287.001.0001

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‘A serious moral question to be properly understood’:1 Catholic human rights discourse in Northern Ireland in the 1980s

‘A serious moral question to be properly understood’:1 Catholic human rights discourse in Northern Ireland in the 1980s

Chapter:
(p.131) 7 ‘A serious moral question to be properly understood’:1 Catholic human rights discourse in Northern Ireland in the 1980s
Source:
Theories of International Relations and Northern Ireland
Author(s):

Maria Power

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9781784995287.003.0008

Liberal scholars have historically stressed the role of NGOs, including churches, in world politics. Recently, scholars have also stressed the normative influence of religious actors as agents in international relations. The seventh chapter examines the role of the Catholic Church in the Northern Ireland peace process by analysing the theological basis of Catholic attitudes and beliefs regarding peace and the manifestations of these teachings as applied by bishops in Northern Ireland. The chapter demonstrates that faith creates action and explains how an important religious tradition in Northern Ireland promoted peace by recognizing and responding to the new kind of wars and political conflicts that have emerged in recent decades. As the nature of conflict changed from a state-centred model into one which saw civil wars and ethnic-conflict becoming the norm, so too did Catholic responses; national Churches began to realise that protest and non-violent action was no longer enough to create a more peaceful world. Consequently, the Catholic hierarchy in Northern Ireland sought to achieve peace by working for justice, especially for political prisoners and those who suffered discrimination.

Keywords:   NGOs, Catholic Church, Northern Ireland, Peace, Political prisoners

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