To forgive, according to Webster, means "1) to cease to feel resentment
against; 2: to give up resentment of or claim to requital for; to grant relief from payment of."
These are good definitions, but are too short of an explanation of what
really is involved in an act of forgiveness.
Whenever I (or any Catholic) goes to confession, Jesus forgives us through
the absolution of the priest, but we always receive some sort of penance to perform. It may be some
prayers or some act of kindness, for example. In other words, we may receive “forgiveness” but there
is something that we must do to “pay the price” or make restitution in some way.
Catholics know that temporal punishment due to our sins may not ALL be taken
away through the Sacrament of Penance. Therefore, the need to pray or do something as a
penance helps in this matter and also reflects to the confessor our sincere repentance and desire to
Even in a secular sense, forgiveness may require some restitution. For
example, if two people are in a car accident where the cars in question are damaged, it would be
wonderful if both drivers would “forgive” each other. However, the fact remains that the cars are damaged and
they are in need of repair. Either an insurance company must pay for the damages (in which cases the
insurance premiums may likely go up) or one or other of the offending parties must dish out monies to
pay for the damages.
“Forgiving” very often does not mean offenders can go scott-free as though
nothing ever happened. If that were true, then we shouldn’t have anybody in prison. Let’s let them all
loose! Let them free!
What I’m leading up to is simply that President Clinton and many of his
supporters seem to want forgiveness for the evil acts of Mr. Clinton, but that the forgiveness should
be in the simple area of censure. They say, “Let’s forgive him and get on with the work of the
Well, dear reader! The gravity of the offense may require more serious
restitution. I am all for “forgiving” the President, if he is GENUINELY sorry. Let’s remember that even
God cannot forgive us unless we are sorry! A priest could refuse absolution to someone if the
priest had reason to think that the “penitent” was not really PENITENT.
An oath is the calling on God to bear witness to the truth of what we say.
If a person lies under oath, he/she calls on God to bear witness to lies. This is a very great evil.
There is a “price to pay” for perjury, if there is evidence of such. If
President Clinton is guilty of perjury, he must pay a price like any other American citizen who commits
perjury. The chief executive of the legislative branch should not be above the law himself.
In previous articles I have called for prayers for the conversion of our
President. I make that call again.
God bless you!