Tim Townsend–Can We Forgive?

September 11, 2001, was chaos, sinister dust, mangled hunks of machinery, and primeval noises that sounded as if they came from the fiery, violent birth of the planet. That’s what made the morning scary. It was the jumpers who gave the day its humanity.

From the ground, it was impossible to imagine the hell going on inside those skyscrapers-turned-ovens. But when people appeared in the windows””91 stories high, with black smoke licking up into the air behind them””suddenly the enormity of the morning became clear. In the final seconds of life, by holding hands, a simple act of love, they denied evil.

Still, actual forgiveness””even for the most devout among us””remains elusive. “Some people say, ‘I forgive them,’ and they say it so quickly,” Fr. [Patrick] Ryan observed. “I don’t know that I can say it so quickly.”

Read it all.


Posted in * Culture-Watch, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

7 comments on “Tim Townsend–Can We Forgive?

  1. Cennydd13 says:

    Forgiving them is like forgiving Hitler and his Nazis.

  2. Sick & Tired of Nuance says:

    When they repent, I will forgive…

  3. Paula Loughlin says:

    It is up to the families of the victims to decide whether they should forgive the attackers. There is no “we” in this at all.

  4. Br. Michael says:

    Of course one is reminded of the Amish response to the Nickle Mines murders. We don’t forgive because it is easy, but because God has told us to, and, of course, it is hard.

  5. Jim the Puritan says:

    There is nothing to forgive at this point. One forgives because they decided to leave it in the hands of God to mete justice. You forgive someone and give up to God your right to revenge the wrong done you. Romans 12:19.

    When a wrongdoer is alive there is the possibility of repentance, which is why we are to forgive them. We pray for our enemies and those who have hurt us because we hope that God will change them, just like God has forgiven and changed us. In this case, however, the evildoers are dead, and presumably have now been judged and condemned by God (although obviously this is in God’s sovereignty). It’s out of our hands.

    Further, one cannot forgive the ideology that motivated these folks. You cannot forgive an ideology, only people. Militant Islam is just as evil as Nazism and any number of other delusions inspired by Satan. We are always to oppose Satan.

  6. Mike L says:

    I’ve always felt our forgiveness is more for the benefit of the forgivor than the forgivee.

  7. Cennydd13 says:

    No matter how much we say that we must forgive these acts of terrorism, it is absolutely pointless.

    It’s pointless because no matter what we say or how long we say it, [b]the ultimate aim of the Islam that these terrorists claim to represent is the complete and absolute subjugation of the entire world,[/b] and if it suits their purposes to commit murder in the process, then they will do just that.

    Fortunately, most Muslims don’t subscribe to this terrorism, but it bothers me that more of them don’t speak out forcefully against these acts and take action to prevent them from happening.

    Maybe we’d feel a bit kinder to them if they did.