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Lessons to be learned from Good's proposal

 

The Rev Harold Good's proposal for summoning a day of reflection for all to admit guilt for the atrocities committed in the Troubles and ask for forgiveness from each other (News, August 24) has aroused criticism from victims' groups. An individual may forgive - that is, refuse to press charges - but society, apart from showing clemency, as in a pardon, cannot. If it were, that would be seen to condone. And that, perhaps, is how the victims' groups see the proposal.

Yet, the Rev Harold Good may have a point about all being victims. All are 'victims' of a past, but not the past as it was, but a past as it is fondly remembered. The Lateran Council of the Western Church (1215), decreeing that a heretic's lands may be seized by a believer, is of the past as it was; heretics have no rights. Little wonder that a King of Spain could come to have his eyes on Ireland. The turmoil in the Islamic world today is reminiscent of what Western Christendom once was.

Get that, among other matters, into our classrooms.

WA Miller

Belfast

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