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Making AmendsAtonement in Morality, Law, and Politics$
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Linda Radzik

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195373660

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195373660.001.0001

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Collective Atonement

Collective Atonement

Making Amends to the Magdalen Penitents

Chapter:
(p.175) Chapter Seven Collective Atonement
Source:
Making Amends
Author(s):

Linda Radzik (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195373660.003.0007

Can the reconciliation theory of atonement be applied to cases of group wrongdoing, including instances of historical injustice? Reconciliation is surely valuable in cases like these. Communities that have been ripped apart by ethnic violence, scandal, or political oppression need healing and a restoration of trust. But can we defend the claims of responsibility that seem to be necessary in order to attribute to groups an obligation to atone? This chapter argues that the reconciliation theory of atonement coheres with attributions of collective responsibility in a way that lends credibility to both views. This chapter returns to the case of the Magdalen asylums of Ireland and views it as a case of institutional abuse that calls for group atonement by the Roman Catholic Church. The role of both apology and reparations is discussed.

Keywords:   collective responsibility, historical injustice, institutional abuse, apology, reparations, Roman Catholic Church, Magdalen asylums, Ireland, scandal

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