The nature of forgiveness



I am very distressed by Father Kenneth Doyle’s response to a parishioner who asked about forgiving ISIS (Question Corner, Feb. 5). He claims we don’t have to forgive them “because forgiveness … presumes remorse on the part of the perpetrator and a pledge of changed behavior.”

Since when?

Were the soldiers who crucified Jesus or the religious authorities who handed him over to them remorseful when He said, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do?” In the prayer He taught us, do we say “…forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us and are remorseful for doing so?” When Peter asked Him how many times he must forgive his neighbor, did Jesus say “70 times seven times, as long as he’s remorseful and pledges to change his behavior?”

Forgiveness is absolutely not dependent on a perpetrator’s remorse! We are called to forgive as Jesus forgave, without any strings attached. No one said it would be easy!

Rev. Michael J. Matveenko

Pastor, Church of Saint Charles Borromeo, Sicklerville