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Katie van Schaijik

Not whether I meant to offend, but whether I did offend: that is the question

Aug. 7 at 2:28pm

A couple of recent articles about wrongdoing and forgiveness together with some conversations, both in person and online, have revived my ever-ready ruminating on this subject.

I keep being surprised and disturbed and taken aback by how much basic misunderstanding there is out there, even among otherwise mature and thoughtful Christians.

Let's take a case: person A (we'll call her Ann) is offended by person B (we'll call him Bob.)

Ann says to Bob, "That offended me." And Bob responds, "I certainly didn't mean any offense!"

For many (especially many offenders), this should be the end of the matter. He hadn't meant to offend; time for her to forgive and move on. 

But, notice that the real

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Michael Healy

Guardini on Forgiveness

Dec. 6, 2012, at 10:09pm

Earlier this month my wife Maria pointed out to me a very beautiful paragraph on forgiveness by Romano Guardini included in one of the daily readings (Meditation for Nov. 12) in the November issue of Magnificat.  Remembering that I had the book (The Lord) in the basement, I searched it out to read further—from Chapter XIII. 

After reviewing the relevant line of the text of the Our Father and some commentary on it in Matt. 6:14-15 (But if you do not forgive men, neither will your father forgive you your offenses), Matt. 18: 21-2 (Forgive 70 times 7 times) and Matt 18: 35 (the story of the king settling accounts with the heartless servant who was forgiven but would not forgive a lesser

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Devra Torres

C. S. Lewis on Forgiveness

Aug. 1, 2012, at 5:48pm

This is a spinoff.

This is only a spinoff.

In other words, I have no intention of addressing the 144,000 points or so made about forgiveness (legitimate, premature, unprincipled, or dysfunctional, with or without justice and reconciliation) in recent posts and comments. (I strongly recommend reading through them, though, if you haven’t yet—much food for thought).

What I would like to do is allow C. S. Lewis to weigh in on the subject.   Forgiveness is right up there with humility as a contender for Most Misunderstood Christian Virtue.  And it’s painfully relevant: it comes up all the time in the life of anyone tempted to think of himself, as we probably all do sometimes, as Surrounded By

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Janet Smith

More on Unprincipled Forgiveness

Jul. 22, 2012, at 10:14pm

Katie van Shaijik understands us to have very different positions on the relationship between forgiveness and justice.  I am still not clear what the nature of those differences are (and hope the discussion below will smoke those out). 

Proper Focus

Katie also thinks that I have shifted the focus from what she wanted to focus on.  I think it fair to say that what she wants to focus on is the incompatibility of “unprincipled forgiveness” with Christianity.  She says I have shifted the conversation to “the subjectivity of the offended party and the need for her to forgive, or "stay in friendly relations", etc.”  Katie, of course, is not saying that such is not an important topic but for her

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Michael Healy

Response to “Forgiveness and Dysfunction”

Jul. 8, 2012, at 8:04pm

I figured there was no way this response would fit in the 200 word Comment section, so I may as well just do a new post.

(That does not mean I intend to be extra wordy.  Tomorrow I start three intensive summer courses, so I’ll actually have to cut back on my PP responses.  Hopefully, a few will miss me; others no doubt will rejoice!  C’est la vie!) 

First, of course, Katie elaborates on many “good” examples of dysfunctional “forgiveness”—the Penn State mess, the priestly abuse scandals, some approaches of Covenant Communities in the past, the priest’s book (which has been mentioned before), and Nora in A Doll’s House.  I too in both my comments and my posts have agreed with her examples

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Katie van Schaijik

Forgiveness and dysfunction

Jul. 8, 2012, at 1:21pm

My post on “unprincipled forgiveness” led to a lively exchange with Mike Healy that has further persuaded me of the confusion surrounding the mystery of forgiveness, and the great difficulty many Christians have not only in realizing it in practice, but understanding it in theory.  And since I believe that understanding it rightly is crucial to the task of achieving it and helping others achieve it, I’m going to keep pressing.

To be clearer and more complete about what I have in mind with the problem of "unprincipled forgiveness" let me say the following:

When it comes to the social act of reconciliation (which is the natural aim and consummation of forgiveness), to treat an unrepentant

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Katie van Schaijik

The concept of unprincipled forgiveness

Jun. 27, 2012, at 12:24pm

An ongoing topic of background meditation for me is the problem of forgiveness, and the way it is badly misunderstood, mis-preached, and mis-applied in Christian circles.  So, I perked up over an item in the Corner today, making a point I have often tried to make myself, though less successfully.  John O'Sullivan quotes a column by Kevin Myers in the Irish Independent, speaking of the bloody "Troubles" in Northern Ireland.

Now contrary to what those creepy moral apologists for the IRA insist, Christian teaching does not demand that one forgives one’s uncontrite assailant as one forgives the repentant ones. The entire sacrament of absolution depends on unconditional repentance and a “firm

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Michael Healy

“Forgiving Oneself”—What Might It Mean?

Feb. 14, 2012, at 11:33pm

In my earlier post on forgiveness, an interesting tangential point arose in discussion about the (possible) nature of "forgiving oneself" or "self-forgiveness."  Some would deny such a thing is even possible, others would say it has a meaning, though only derivative or secondary.  Herewith, a further attempt to sort out a few thoughts on the topic.

It might seem at first glance that “self-forgiveness” is a dangerous concept.  Why?  First, is it not substituting a relation to self for what is by its very nature an interpersonal act?  Does this not imply an encapsulating self-centeredness?  Second, don’t we have to ask for forgiveness and be forgiven by the one we have wronged?  Otherwise,

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Michael Healy

Forgiveness: What Completes It?  What Cripples It?

Jan. 21, 2012, at 9:10pm

As the title implies, I want to offer two thoughts on forgiveness.  

First, forgiveness is really not complete until the full trust of the love relationship is reestablished.  Thus there would seem to be two main stages or challenges to the process of forgiveness: 1) achieving (and extending) forgiveness in the first place for a serious wound or offense and then 2) achieving the rebuilding of the full bridge of mutual love and trust.  If you have forgiven a person or persons, but no longer rejoice in their presence the way you once did, no longer have an intimacy and openness with them as you once did,  keep them at arms’ length emotionally, much less if you do not want to even be with

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Katie van Schaijik

Truth as inter-personal breathing space

Jul. 7, 2009, at 12:58pm

I think I could spend the day posting the new encyclical paragraph by paragraph.  Number three raises a point that came up in the Personalist Project’s recent discussions on forgiveness.  In my experience, conventional Christian “forgiveness thinking” downplays truth in the name of charity.  But more on this later.  (Hint: The idea that to insist on truth is “harsh,” together with demands that it be set aside in the name of peace and “unity” are, I claim, prime characteristics of dysfunctional relationships—relationships where selves are suffocated for lack of due breathing space.)

Meanwhile, here’s the paragraph.

3. Through this close link with truth, charity can be recognized as an

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Katie van Schaijik

Forgiveness retreat

Jun. 19, 2009, at 12:36pm

A couple of weeks ago the Personalist Project hosted its first advisers and directors retreat. We gathered for three days of leisurely philosophical communion on the theme of forgiveness in beautiful Spring Lake, NJ. I hope to share some of the fruit of our discussions soon. Meanwhile, here is a photo of the participants.

From left to right:
- Mike Wallacavage, who received his MA in philosophy from the IAP.
- Jill Burkemper, PhD, of Saint Louis University.
- John Henry Crosby, Founder and Director of the Hildebrand Legacy Project
- Peter Colosi, PhD, of Charles Borromeo Seminary
- Michael Healy, PhD, of Franciscan University
- Wendy Laurento, West Chester lawyer, who also has an MA in

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