There is a new post by Gladys Ganiel on the Slugger O’Toole blog marking the third anniversary of the death of ecumenical peacemaker, Fr Gerry Reynolds. It reproduces his 1994 sermon at Clonard’s Holy Family Confraternity after the IRA and loyalist ceasefires. Ganiel writes:
In light of the announcement earlier this week of the theme of the 2019 4 Corners Festival (31 January-10 February 2019), ‘Scandalous Forgiveness,’ I cannot describe the vision of forgiveness that Reynolds lays out in this sermon as anything less than scandalous.
He praises loyalists for including a ‘confession’ in their ceasefire statement and says ‘the nationalists too have a sin to confess.’ He asserts that the sins of all must be forgiven before we can arrive at any sort of reconciliation.
Exhortations for those who have been wounded or bereaved to ‘forgive’ are not always helpful; indeed, there is a risk that demanding forgiveness can re-victimise people. But I don’t think that should keep us from including discussion about forgiveness in the civic conversation. That’s what the 2019 4 Corners Festival aims to do. In that light, Reynolds’ sermon is as relevant a contribution today as it was in 1994.