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« Beatification and Canonization, 101 | Main | The Sacrificial Depths of the Gift of Divine Mercy »

Saturday, April 30, 2011

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Alex Binz

Forgive me if I'm wrong, but it seems like there is a category confusion in Fr. Schall's sermon. I don't think I'd agree that "forgiveness is contingent on repentance," if only because this makes nonsense out of the command to love and forgive our enemies. We can forgive -- we can cease to hold a sin against the sinner -- without effecting total reconciliation. Thus there's a distinction between salvation and forgiveness, a line that I fear is blurred in this sermon. Or perhaps the same distinction is preserved when Fr. Schall distinguishes "forgiveness" from "forgiveness in principle." Either way, I'd greatly appreciate the clarification.

Carl E. Olson

There is a difference, isn't there, between forgiveness offered by the innocent/victim regardless of the response and forgiveness asked for by the guilty party? Fr. Schall is referring, I'm certain, to the latter. Yes, we are to forgive our enemies; but it doesn't follow that they are forgiven their sins without repentance on their part. This is what St. Peter refers to in his Pentecost sermon: "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38). Or, as the Catechism says, "It is by faith in the Gospel and by Baptism that one renounces evil and gains salvation, that is, the forgiveness of all sins and the gift of new life" (par. 1427).

When Fr. Schall writes that God "cannot forgive what is not asked or acknowledged", I think he is saying that while God has offered forgiveness to all, the rejection of that forgiveness is a real possibility and option. And that rejection, I think, is essentially the sin against the Holy Spirit (Mt. 12:32; Mk. 3:29; Lk. 12:10).

Charles E Flynn

The thread is better for the question having been raised, and answered. Thanks to you both.

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