Mercy and forgiveness: the roots of the family

Mercy and forgiveness: the roots of the family

The overly-emotional nature of contemporary society, demonstrated throughout mass media and exacerbated by digital technology and social networks has contributed to a loss of understanding of the “grammar” of emotions, rather than an increase in it.

Almost as a consequence, learning to forgive – in both family life and work, has become a vitally important educational challenge. On Friday, March 11, an afternoon of study was held at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, on Mercy and Family , during which a number of discussions took place under the theme of Mercy and Forgiveness.

These reflections began within an interdisciplinary research group on forgiveness, composed of teachers of the Holy Cross in collaboration with other Italian and foreign universities. From 2010 to 2014 the group considered the nature of forgiveness and associated topics and brought together key findings in the publication Liberare la storia. Prospettive interdisciplinari sul perdono (Free History: Interdisciplinary perspectives on forgiveness ).

The authors of the book which include psychologists, theologians and philosophers, offer a multitude of perspectives: identifying the issues that the analysis of the process of forgiveness carries within it: violence, evil, suffering, emotions, conflict, guilt, and even the origins of the ability or inability to forgive. During the research, family was a recurring theme - and how family ties relate to the ability to forgive or not to forgive.

Mercy and family

The event on March 11 therefore combined the themes of mercy and family, inviting to a panel discussion some of the authors of the book as well as Professor Amedeo Cencini, a specialist in psychotherapy and teacher of several courses on training and emotional education in consecrated life at the Gregorian University and the Salesian University, and Dr. Mariolina Ceriotti Migliarese, a doctor, child psychiatrist and psychotherapist expert in family and couple therapy.

Amedeo Cencini developed his discussion in two parts: after underscoring Mercy as the kind of love that transcends justice, and as such as part of the identity of God, he proposed a psycho-pedagogical path marked by three essential steps to perceive the mercy of God: the knowledge of his own suffering, the experience of pain, and the wisdom of those who have a new identity, reconciled with God.

In this way Cencini highlighted the difference between sincerity and truth; the essential role of sensitivity in dealing with God and the current contemporary illiteracy of sentiments; pain as channel for existential maturation in which the person is called to have the courage to fully perceive their helplessness and then as an opportunity to experience the truth for themselves as a creature of God as the Merciful Creator.

Forgiveness and family

Mariolina Migliarese analyzed the theme of forgiveness from the perspective of education and family by highlighting how forgiveness can be learnt and that there are a number of skills to be acquired in order to achieve it. Her discussion focused in particular on the subject of conflict as formative in defining a person and relationships; then she presented the narration of a clinical case of a relationship crisis.

At the end of the two dialogues, a round table took place in which professors Susanna Pallini, Antonio Malo and Giulio Maspero who, from the different disciplinary approaches of philosophy and theology, psychology, discussed the specific role of internalized relationships of the father and the mother on the ability or difficulty for humans to forgive.

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