The Forgiveness Debate

Regular readers of America on the Web may have already encountered the lively discussion of Sister Camille D’Arienzo’s article "Mercy Toward Our Fathers," in which she argues that granting forgiveness can bring much-needed healing to victims of sexual abuse. A number of sexual abuse victims have weighed in, and it is clear that for some the wounds inflicted by this tragedy are still very raw.

Now Charles Lewis, the esteemed religion reporter for the National Post in Canada, has published a Q&A with Sister Camille in which she discusses the anger that this topic can summon:


Q. Can a mere mortal forgive this kind sin?

A. My hope is that someone reading the article will have the grace and the wisdom to know when and with whom to broach the topic of forgiveness. I know that words meant to console and comfort can further ignite and aggravate victims. You can make a case for slience in every horror the world has ever known. We have histories of silence. Those who speak out are really setting themselves up for misunderstanding and anger. And that’s not at all what one wants.

Read the whole thing here.

To hear more from Sister Camille, listen to this interview we conducted for our podcast.

Tim Reidy

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.


Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

The Vatican has released the complete letter by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI about Pope Francis after facing criticism for manipulating a photograph of it.
Gerard O’ConnellMarch 17, 2018
This week’s top U.S.-Latino Catholic news
J.D. Long-GarcíaMarch 16, 2018
U.S. President Barack Obama presents the Medal of Freedom to Stephen Hawking during a ceremony at the White House in Washington Aug. 12, 2009 (CNS photo/Paul Haring).
There have been great physicists and mathematicians who were also great philosophers. Hawking, unfortunately, was not one of them.
Stephen M. BarrMarch 16, 2018
Pope Francis enters the main gate of the Auschwitz Nazi death camp in Oswiecim, Poland, July 29, 2016 (CNS photo/Alessia Giuliani, pool).
Poland’s Catholic primate called anti-Semitism “a moral evil and a sin.”
Catholic News ServiceMarch 16, 2018