We must not forgive too easily, says Archbishop of Canterbury
Apr 18, 2011
It may be a key Christian principle but forgiving too easily can be dangerous, the Archbishop of Canterbury has suggested.
Rowan Williams has warned that easy forgiveness can make suffering appear not to matter.
In BBC1’s What is the Point in Forgiveness?, to be broadcast on Good Friday, the Archbishop also concedes that it is not fair to expect victims of abuse, rape or torture to turn the other cheek with ease.
He told Radio Times: ‘I think the 20th century saw such a level of atrocity that it has focused our minds very, very hard on the dangers of forgiving too easily … because if forgiveness is easy it is as if the suffering doesn’t really matter.’
The Archbishop insisted, though, that faith would help people forgive. His comments come after a recent speech in which he said forgiveness was part of ‘humanity’.
The most senior cleric in the Church of England also used his Easter sermon last year to urge forgiveness in the wake of the sex abuse scandal which rocked the Roman Catholic Church.
He told his congregation: ‘Our future is bound up with whether we are able to turn to those we have hurt and seek forgiveness.’