Forgiveness and reconciliation
T hroughout the centuries, politics, international relations and diplomacy have shown that that which seemed unalterable is not so at all; when a new paradigm was offered, explained, and instituted in minds and spirits, issues that had seemed impossible to resolve, instead enjoyed unexpected breakthroughs.
Negotiation, mediation, restitution, international institutions, the commitment of religions to peace – before they came about, they seemed to be unachievable objectives. And instead they have become so essential that life without them is now unthinkable.
Today several old and new disputes have found in conflict a rather tragic stability, and in violence, a predominant given. Yet there is an instrument that has begun to penetrate the international scene – the processes of forgiveness and reconciliation, having already been applied to situations that would have otherwise been condemned to the status quo.
Thus, in the face of an already broad bibliography and of well known cases, it seems to us necessary to ask those with the most political and intellectual responsibility, as well as those with the widest spiritual sensibility, to ask themselves where and how forgiveness could be a means for coming together. In so doing, we seek to refine the concept of forgiveness, strip it of its ideological residue, and render it less ambiguous.
The questions that follow seek to build a parallel, collective interview: to show the convergence of the great spirits of this tattered world, the synchronization of the generations. The contributions will be discussed in a permanent forum which will be launched in Rome as a laboratory for action and reflection.
01Peace negotiations are, for the most part, focused on the political and economic dimensions. What is your perception of the necessity of touching deeper and more genuine aspects of reconciliation and how can this be achieved?
02What are the conditions in which, beyond securing the interests of parties to conflict, a process that is centered on a sense of fairness and dignity can be established?
03To what degree is forgiveness an essential dimension of reconciliation? At the root of your political culture and religious faith, what are the principles that either imply or exclude forgiveness? Which verses or sayings that are part of your personal spiritual heritage could in your opinion have a universal significance?
04Does forgiveness require some form of repentance on the side of those to whom forgiveness is offered?
Does forgiveness have conditions or is it unconditional?
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