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Journal of Religion and Violence

Volume 2, Issue 1, 2014

Marco Ceccarelli
Pages 6-44
DOI: 10.5840/jrv2014218

Catholic Thought as Soft-Counterterrorism: La Civiltà Cattolica on non-Violent Solutions to Islamic Terrorism

This article analyses a particular kind of Catholic scholarship, that of the Jesuit Journal La Civiltà Cattolica, and its discourse on Islamic terrorism in the twenty-first century. While numerous secular political studies have been published on Islamic terrorism since the attacks of 9/11, little attention has been paid to the scholarly debate that has emerged among Catholic intellectuals on this issue. The examination focuses on the works of three La Civiltà Cattolica writers, namely Edomnd Farahian S.J., Giovanni Sale S.J. and Enrico Cattaneo S.J. as well as the discourse of prominent Catholic religious leaders, including the newly elected Pope Francis. The non-violent strategy for countering Islamic terrorism proposed by the contemporary Catholic Church, and echoed by the Jesuits, is framed as a new “soft-counterterrorism” approach based on interreligious dialogue and the creation of bonds of friendship. The article also considers the debate currently taking place among religious scholars on the Catholic Church’s position towards Islam as well as new insights into the need for the West to rediscover its Christian roots before engaging with Islam.

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