(AP) Episcopal leaders forgive Maryland church shooter

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Episcopal Diocese of Maryland is offering forgiveness and a funeral service for a homeless man who killed himself after fatally shooting a priest and church secretary last week.

Bishop Eugene Taylor Sutton and an academic expert on forgiveness likened the diocese's attitude to that of an Amish community in Lancaster County, Pa., that forgave the man who fatally shot five school girls there in 2006.

"That is a painful, hard process," Sutton told The Associated Press after last Thursday's shooting. "But we learned something a few years ago, made manifest by the Amish community, when a gunman came into that school: Eventually, that community went to the family of that murderer and extended forgiveness."

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchViolence* TheologyPastoral Theology

Posted May 11, 2012 at 5:46 am

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1. Archer_of_the_Forest wrote:

I saw this story floating around Facebook for a few days, and I still don’t know what to think of it. I am forgiveness is good, don’t get me wrong. But I still hold that suicide is the unforgivable sin, so what this church is doing seems to contraindicate that. Granted, all I have are media accounts of this, and we know how accurate those tend to be.

At the very least, it seems to be a lesson of “forgive and forget,” and that’s not what Christian forgiveness is about. I don’t maybe, maybe I am reading too much into this incident as a knee jerk reaction to the Episcopal Church’s “full inclusion” mantra.

May 11, 3:04 pm | [comment link]
2. Teatime2 wrote:

#1, Most Christian bodies recognize that suicide is not the choice of a whole, rational human. There is mental illness involved and that makes the person less culpable. Surely you don’t think that those who complete suicide shouldn’t be entitled to a church funeral and burial in consecrated ground, do you? I would never presume to conclude that God won’t forgive the troubled, damaged soul for whom earthly life was misery. And if humans can forgive the pain caused, then they are blessed, not suspect.

May 11, 10:32 pm | [comment link]

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