(mkf) One of the highlights of the Holy Year, anticipated with high expectations and tension not only within the church, and accompanied by intensive media covering, was the Pope's seeking for forgiveness on first Lent Sunday, March 11, 2000. He wished that the local churches and all Christians in their very areas of life would follow this example and seek forgiveness. Two days later, a group of young women followed his wish at the beginning of their retreat in Schoenstatt with a hour of forgiveness and reconciliation.
They chose the place in the Father Kentenich House, where the room is re-built, in which Father Kentenich was imprisoned by the Gestapo for four weeks in almost absolute darkness. This room can be a symbol of the darkness which come from injustice, guilt, harm, and lack of mercy. In the spirit of the Founder of Schoenstatt, this place can also be a symbol for a way of taking these hurts and darkness – the way of forgiving and mercy, the way of saying "Yes" to one's own guilt and shortcomings and grant mercy to others like the merciful Father does to each one. A light and a rose placed in the darkness of the cell were a sign for the hope and joy from forgiveness given and received. They wrote the names of all those whom they had to forgive, and of all those whose forgiveness they needed, on sheets of paper with a rose printed on. In a time of silence, each one brought her "forgive me"-"forgive you" sheets, and, facing the darkness and the light, placed them by the rose in the bunker. A freeing experience, as one said, and: "Schoenstatt's spirituality is marked by forgiveness. This is such an important message for people of our time."
Pope's Mea culpa - Top News for Days
Forgiveness is one of the central issues in society and one of the most crucial processes regarding human relations. "When something goes wrong, you blame your doctor, your dog, society. Real forgiveness takes a good deal of maturity." Says Kevin Irving, a theologican at the Catholic University of America in Washington.
"Forgiveness studies" are made in various academic disciplines. "We have documented scientific evidence that forgiveness is good for those who willingly choose it," said Robert Enright, founder of the International forgiveness Institute.
Hardly one Newspaper, TV or Internet News without the Pope's Mea Culpa making top news around March 11. "Even if Jesus' followers over the centuries have heeded his advice only imperfectly, one of his central teachings on human relationships can be boiled down to one word: forgiveness," wrote NBC's Andrea Mitchell.
More comments – available in German only:
Zur weiteren Information:
Predigt des hl.Vaters (italienisch)
Auszug aus der Predigt des hl.Vaters (deutsch) bei kathWEB
Erinnern und Versöhnen
- Die Kirche und ihre Verfehlungen in ihrer Vergangenheit