Transactional forgiveness has some success in El Salvador
By Dennis Sandole and Hugo van der Merwe
This Article Summary written by: Mariya Yevsyukova, Conflict Research Consortium
Citation: Dennis Sandole and Hugo van der Merwe. "Transactional forgiveness has some success in El Salvador" in Conflict Resolution Theory and Practice.
Borrowing from Chilean experience, Salvadorian priests act as intermediaries in the contrition and forgiveness interactions. These transactions seek to heal the breach caused by the human rights abuses of the Salvadorian military and police. The priests offered to hear and hold confidential the confessions of soldiers who had committed rights violations and murders. In turn the Priest would pass on the confessed information regarding the fate of "disappeared" persons, and the locations of their bodily remains, to the grieving families. Remorseful soldiers thus could relieve their consciences without fear of severe retribution, and families could receive information on the fates of their loved ones. By acting as intermediaries and acknowledging the soldier's contrition, the priests have helped to produce reconciliation in the larger community.