Saturday, January 18, 2020

Confession and forgiveness

Continuing to read Scruton:
...[I]t is by seeing our world in Christian terms that I have been able to accept the vast changes that have shaken it. Acceptance comes from sacrifice: that is the message conveyed by so many of the memorable works of our culture. And in the Christian tradition the primary acts of sacrifice are confession and forgiveness. Those who confess, sacrifice their pride, while those who forgive, sacrifice their resentment, renouncing thereby something that had been dear to their hearts. Confession and forgiveness are the habits that made our civilization possible.

Forgiveness can be offered only on certain conditions, and a culture of forgiveness is one that implants those conditions in the individual soul. You can forgive those who have injured you only if they acknowledge their fault. This acknowledgement is not achieved by saying 'yes, that's true, that's what I did' It requires penitence and atonement. Through these self-abasing acts, the wrongdoer goes out to his victim and re-establishes the moral equality that makes forgiveness possible. In the Judaeo-Christian tradition all this is well known, and incorporated into the sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church as well as the rituals and liturgy of Yom Kippur. We have inherited from those religious sources the culture that enables us to confess to our faults, to make recompense to our victims, and to hold each other to account in all matters where our free conduct can harm those who have cause to rely on us. ....
Roger Scruton, How to be a Conservative, Bloomsbury Continuum, 2019.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated. I will gladly approve any comment that responds directly and politely to what has been posted.