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Katie van Schaijik

Two new items for my case against “unprincipled forgiveness”

Jun. 8, 2013, at 1:59pm

I've recently come across two fresh "exhibits" for the case I've been building against "unprincipled forgiveness"—a commonly preached and practiced, unavailing counterfeit of genuine forgiveness.

"Exhibit A" is the case of a person who ought to be busy repenting and making amends, who is instead laying claims to other people's forgiveness and more or less presenting himself as the victim of their lack of Christianity.  I refer to Cardinal O'Brien, the Scottish prelate who, when it came to light that several men, including priests and former priests had credibly accused him of sexual misconduct, was abruptly required to retire right before the papal conclave. The Cardinal flatly denied the

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Katie van Schaijik

Promoting justice

Apr. 7, 2013, at 10:18am

I am thinking of my cousin, Fr. Bob Oliver, who was appointed Promoter of Justice by Pope Benedict a few weeks before his resignation.  He is now, in effect, the Church's top prosecutor in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the office responsible for adjudicating the sex abuse scandals, among other things.  

According to Zenit, the Pope met last week with Archbishop Müller, head of the CDF, and urged him to act decisively.

"In particular," the statement added, "the Holy Father recommended that the Congregation, continuing along the lines set by Benedict XVI, act decisively with regard to cases of sexual abuse, first of all by promoting measures for the protection of minors,

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Katie van Schaijik

A glaring instance of asking for unprincipled forgiveness

Aug. 22, 2012, at 9:13am

In Todd Akin's apology video, which his campaign dubbed "forgiveness," we find a handy example of the unprincipled variety I've been writing about.

He apologizes, but he declines to take pracitcal responsibility for the damage his remarks did to his cause, the Republican Party, and the voters he was nominated to represent.

Instead, he proceeds as if having said he's sorry, he's done all that can fairly be expected of a man.  Hence, his "please forgive me," only adds to his original offense.  It's as if he says to those he's just betrayed with his boneheadedness, "Now that I've apologized; it's your responsiblity to forgive me and move on."

To be genuinely sorry doesn't mean to feel really

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Jules van Schaijik

What his contrition has to do with my forgiveness

Jul. 24, 2012, at 3:24pm

I gather that Cath2u's question (in a comment under Janet Smith's latest post), "What's my forgiveness got to do with the other person's contrition?" is meant to be rhetorical, (the answer, of course, being "nothing at all.") But I propose to take it seriously as a question, because it touches on an issue central to the topic of repentance and forgiveness (and to personalism generally), namely, our profound dependence on one another.

To give a good idea of what I mean by this dependence, and to indicate how deep it goes, let me quote from John Crosby's great book The Selfhood of the Human Person:

The unconditional acceptance of me by another person, or by the entire social milieu in which

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Katie van Schaijik

Turning the tables

Jul. 23, 2012, at 1:22pm

Mike Healy jumped back into the discussion of "unprincipled forgiveness" because, as he put it (in comment #67 under Janet Smith's post) "I must at least defend myself from the charge (now repeated) of attributing horrible attitudes to [Katie]."

Suppose I were to say in reply: "You should model yourself on the example of Jesus, who didn't defend himself against much worse false charges made against him."

Wouldn't he want to say—wouldn't he be right to say—"Mind your own beewax. There is nothing wrong with a person defending himself against false charges!  Kindly answer my point."

If I were like the practioners of "unprincipled forgiveness," I would say in answer:  "Humanly speaking,

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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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