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The complexities of forgiveness are difficult to unwrap

forgiveness on Resources - Just before the 9/11 terrorists murdered my nephew (a passenger on the first plane to strike the World Trade Center) and almost 3,000 other people, I read Catholic writer Antoinette Bosco's book, Choosing Mercy: A Mother of Murder Victims Pleads to End the Death Penalty.

The title tells you enough to know that Toni Bosco had a difficult journey toward forgiveness and, finally, reconciliation, a condition that does not always accompany forgiveness.

In the ensuing dozen years, I've found the idea of forgiveness increasingly complex. Forgiveness can be risky. It can be painful. Yes, it can be and usually is necessary, but if you imagine it's an easy matter, you are delusional.

In my own 9/11 case, there were no hijackers left alive to forgive in person even if I wanted to. All of them obviously perished with the people they killed. So in such a case, what might forgiveness look like? And what might it mean?

A friend who also is an elder at my church and who has run some classes he calls "The Forgiveness Café" will join me over the April 26-28 weekend to lead a discussion of exactly these kinds of questions about forgiveness. We'll be offering this forgiveness seminar at Kirkridge Retreat Center in Pennsylvania, a place of Christian foundation that welcomes everyone, including many Catholics who have been both seminar leaders and participants.

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