Thursday, May 19, 2011

History in the Making: History and its Pricey Baggage

So the Queen, God Save Her, expressed “sincere thoughts and deep sympathy” with all those in Ireland who “who have died or been injured and their families…all those who suffered as a consequence of our troubled past,” but stopped short of an apology, much less of asking forgiveness.  But then, we aren’t about to apologize for the tribulations of the Native Americans or the descendents of those who were brought here as slaves—much less ask their forgiveness.  Of course Pope Benedict has apologized—several times and over various international visits—to those who suffered sexual, physical, or emotional abuse at the hands of the Institutional Church or its clergy and religious.  And has it made any difference, really?  Maybe it’s time that we look into our hearts and ask ourselves if we have the capacity to ask those whom we have harmed for forgiveness and, perhaps even more important, to accept and respond to the requests for forgiveness when others make that request of us.  There are some things in history—personal histories as well as the histories of peoples—that we might never get over but how tragic when we refuse to allow ourselves to move forward with the lives we have. 

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