Ash-Wednesday-1Some time ago I had a bust up with a colleague. He walked into my office and insulted me straight up. It was real ugly. He accused me of stuff of which I was innocent.

So I asked him to sit down. Although I was furious I said, “You have just insulted me very badly. You’ve said I am a bad priest and that I don’t care for my people. You’ve implied that I use parish money to fund my own lavish lifestyle. None of this is true. You have seriously offended me. You have hurt my feelings and wounded our relationship. Are you able to apologize?”

He said, “I have nothing to apologize for.”

“Let me correct you. You do indeed have something to apologize for. Even if you did not mean to offend, you did. You insulted and offended me openly. Are you able to apologize so that I can forgive you?”

“I have done nothing wrong.”

I asked a third time and was rebuffed.

This mirrored an incident I had with someone else a few years ago. I had insulted him. I did it inadvertently, but it was a serious offense. When he called me on it I said, “You’re right. I was wrong. I apologize. Please forgive me.”

He was silent.

I apologized twice more and he made no response. I finally said, “I’m having a problem here. I have offended you and I’m sorry. I apologized sincerely, but you have refused to offer forgiveness. Can this  be so?”

His reply was, “I do not feel that you have shown sufficient remorse.”


Time and again–in both minor and major situations I find grown up people who simply cannot say they are sorry or offer forgiveness.

This is the unforgivable sin. Continue Reading