The Vatican and Peacebuilding: Exploring the Church's Role in Conflict Resolution

March 1, 2017

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After three months of negotiations, Vatican-mediated peace talks between the two factions battling for political control of Venezuela have ceased. From October to December, the Vatican-brokered peace talks between the opposing parties, but at the end of January, the opposition coalition rejected further mediation and instead planned to begin direct negotiations. This intervention was one in a long history of Vatican involvement in world affairs, especially in Latin America. Most recently, Pope Francis assisted in the reopening of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba.

Was the Vatican, a religious body, justified in intervening in negotiations regarding Venezuela specifically? Should the Vatican play a role in mediating conflicts around the world? What are the parameters for determining when the Vatican should intervene in a conflict; does it have a moral obligation to do so? Likewise, what are the implications of the Vatican failing to successfully mediate a conflict? Should the Vatican play a role in the diplomatic community; if so, what should that role be?

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