JERUSALEM – A two-day conference was held in Jerusalem on the theme of forgiveness, bringing together personalities from the three different monotheistic religions. Two days of intense meetings and testimonies to reflect on the value of forgiveness and its practical implementation in a world torn apart by interreligious conflicts.
On July 12 and 13, the Notre Dame Center in Jerusalem hosted a two-day conference on the subject of forgiveness with the title: “Seeing beyond the storm”.
Among the participants were mainly representatives and leaders of the three world-renowned Abrahamic religions such as Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Archbishop of Manila, Doctor Adamou Ndam Njoya, Professor at Yaounde University, Rabbi Jonathan Henry Sacks , Chief Rabbi Emeritus of England, Mgr. William Shomali, Episcopal Vicar of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem for Jordan, Palestinian Authority Minister of Religious Affairs, Mahmoud Al-Habbash, as well as many other participants eager to deepen the meaning of the concept of forgiveness.
Faced with the relentless observation of everyday violence in a world where, as Cardinal Tagle emphasizes, “hurting others has become a daily hobby”, especially in this land of the three monotheistic religions of Jerusalem, the participants all agreed on the absolute necessity of opening a path for genuine reflection on the means to be adopted in order to build for the future a society less marked by conflicts and hate, which are passed pm from generation to generation. Professor Enright, who had the intuition of the conference and who teaches forgiveness as a science at the University of Wisconsin (USA), said there was no contradiction between the forgiveness and the pursuit of justice without holding on to hatred.
Bishop Shomali also stressed that “it is really necessary to educate children for forgiveness, otherwise we are only wasting time” because “when these children become adults, they will convey these values”.
Bishop Shomali spoke of the negative effects of hatred and how the person who holds grudges is the first victim of his own hate because of the relationship between the psychological and the physical make-up. Forgiveness then becomes liberation and healing. Emphasis was placed on the crucial role of education and the transmission of values such as better knowledge of one another and dialogue, which will contribute to the gradual establishment of a climate of trust and a path to forgiveness. Bishop Shomali stressed that “it is really necessary to educate children for forgiveness, otherwise we are only wasting our time” because “when these children become adults, they will convey these values”.
Cardinal Tagle invited the participants to live and be witnesses of forgiveness, following the example of Christ on the Cross, who forgives those who condemned him: “Father, forgive them, they do not know what they are doing”.
At the end of the conference, all participants stressed the positive aspect of such an approach, emphasizing that it was not necessary for all to agree, but it is essential to continue to dialogue in order to maintain this common goal of peace