Reconciliation is a process that is of crucial importance to both the world and the church; it is a concept much misused, often misunderstood, and a praxis central to political democratisation, social reconstruction and spiritual healing. We begin with an examination of violent conflict and the need for post-conflict reconciliation. Drawing on studies in truth and reconciliation processes (mostly South Africa, but also case studies from Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Rwanda and Latin America), we shall critically examine various ways in which ‘nation-building’ may occur to reconstruct failed or destroyed states, as well as the morality and practicality of intervention. We shall then proceed to the political, ethical and spiritual dimensions of reconciliation, including the real problem of situations where 'reconciliation' as a process is undermined by the politics of expediency and the apparent incapability of forgiveness. Drawing on a variety of sources across academic disciplines, we shall try to construct an 'ethic for enemies' and consider the moral viability of reconciliation. Central to this is the question of the functions and viability of truth commissions, the effectiveness of ‘confession’ as a secular sacrament (particularly in societies not culturally catholic), the purpose of reparations and reconstruction exercises, all of which may – but not necessarily will – contribute to a sociology of truth-telling and theology of story.