Charleston Forgiveness

I was reading of the expressions of forgiveness from Emanuel AME Church, some from family members of the deceased. Were I in their place, I know that my response “should” be to forgive. How long would it take me to get there?

Growing up, one of my family members tended to harbor resentments. I cannot say I completely escaped or erased that tape from my brain. My instinct is to forgive, but also to mull over a wrong. It is one thing to say, “I forgive,” and another to live as though one means it.

Even so, I applaud the outward expressions of forgiveness. They won’t reach the mind and probably not the ears of the assassin. But they will reach the ears of others. And give many of us cause to reflect. Perhaps a premature act of forgiveness really sets the soul on the road to peace, and relationships on the path toward reconciliation.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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One Response to Charleston Forgiveness

  1. Liam says:

    One thing to remember: distinguish among harms that are (1) justifiable, (2) excusable, and (3) neither of the foregoing. A lot of people seem to think forgiviness in only appropriate for harms falling in the first two categories, whereas forgiveness is really only fully appropriate for the last category. That’s what makes it *hard*. Our culture prefers to either justify/excuse harms, or to hold onto the right the nurture grievance and resentment about wrongs that can’t be justified/excused.

    Just yesterday, I was reading a prominent English Catholic liturgican musician engage in a short rant about the RM3 translation proces being unforgiveable and betraying not a bit of self-awareness in his insistence on that point. (a “But we’re *right* and you’re not” model of discourse is not very progressive ….). Now, I realize it’s part of a piece with that person, but still, it was so striking coming on the heels of what we witnessed in Charleston last week. And the fact that it’s a pettier matter doesn’t excuse or justify it (but it is, of course, perfectly forgiveable).

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