Forgiveness, a scandal?
The scandal against which we must guard is a word or action evil in itself, which occasions another's spiritual ruin. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13506d.htm
But there is another "scandal" we must embrace, that which the world may see as contrary to good judgement or self-interest, but we know is the path to salvation.
Mark Shea has a good commentary in NCR on one aspect of the Pope's visit to these United States, and on a great man.
For me, the single most arresting display of Christlike humility in the meeting of the Pope and the sex abuse victims belonged to Olan Horne. After Benedict apologized to them and asked forgiveness, there occurred this amazing exchange:
“I asked him to forgive me for hating his Church and hating him,” said Olan Horne, 48, of Lowell, [Mass.,] who gave the Pope a picture of himself as a 9-year-old boy, just before the Rev. Joseph Birmingham started molesting him. “He said, ‘My English isn’t good, but I want you to know that I can understand you, and I think I can understand your sorrow.’”
Horne’s act is, quite simply, a miracle only possible by the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit. It will be seen by no small number of people as scandalous (like the cross itself). The notion that a victim should apologize for his unforgiveness will (according to the “It’s All About Power” interpretive grid of the world) be taken as an act of self-hatred, of the hideous Mind Control of the Church, etc.
In fact, what Horne did was liberate himself from the last and most insidious shackle of the monstrous sin committed against him: the temptation to believe that bitterness is healing.
More than that, by his unfathomably noble act, Horne made it possible for many others to likewise forgive and let go of the imprisoning rage that always tempts us to remain in the power of those who have harmed us.
This act of forgiveness and humility is the power and the scandal of the Gospel on display in full strength. I am humbled and shamed by it as I look at my own slowness to relinquish anger and bitterness when I am hurt.
God bless this man and Good Pope Benedict for this beautiful scandal of reconciliation and healing!