The Journey to Justice and Reconciliation

By Laurel Lanner | Posted: Tuesday July 25, 2017

Over the holidays, I went to a movie called ‘The Journey’. The film was the imagined meeting of two life-long, bitter opponents: Martin McGuinness, the Irish Republican and Sinn Fein politician and Ian Paisley, the Ulster Unionist and Protestant preacher. The two men were forced to travel together in a car from one side of Scotland to the other while peace talks were getting underway. The men had never talked to each other before. Much of the movie was of two talking heads in a car…not very exciting you might think. However, it was surprisingly gripping. The men gradually began to communicate and, as the movie noted at the end, they became known as the Chuckle Brothers because they were often seen laughing together.

How did they get to this point? The film imagined a gradual progression of communication with humour the oil that greased the wheels. Both men challenged each other’s actions and responses. There was no glib ‘I’m sorry’. The two men asked of themselves and each other, what were you thinking at the time? What have you thought of since? Who was affected? Was it morally right or wrong? What might need to happen? What exactly are you saying sorry for? How do we move forward?

It fitted very much into the restorative justice framework that we have been working on at Kavanagh. There is a 4 step process:

1. What happened? (tell the story)

2. Who do you think has been affected? (explore the harm)

3. What do you need to do to put things right? (repair the harm)

4. How can we make sure it doesn’t happen again? (move forward)

This process is valuable at school and you might find it useful at home when dealing with problems in family situations. The acceptance of personal responsibility and putting things right is also what we are asked to think about in our own relationship with God and others in the sacrament of Reconciliation.

If you want to find out more about restorative justice in schools try here:

And if you want to find out more about Reconciliation try here:

Confession 101-Part 1 – What it is and how it’s done

Confession 101-Part 2

How do I go to confession? (cartoon)