Pastoral Psychology

, Volume 63, Issue 4, pp 489–501 | Cite as

The Politics of Apology and Forgiveness

  • Joretta L. Marshall


The politics of apologies and forgiveness is present in individual pastoral care and psychotherapy as well as in the broader context of the world in which we live. Forgiveness is a process that names harm and injustices while also offering possibilities for change, ultimately providing individuals, families, and communities with deeper and more profound ways of imagining relational justice. Such a perspective illuminates the ways in which harm and damage can be individual and systemic in nature, as well as how struggles over meaningful forgiveness are part of larger political realities. As one part of this process, apologies that account for the multiple ways power functions can assist individuals and communities in creating more justice-oriented forgiveness processes. Pastoral care specialists are wise to recognize that apologies and forgiveness always engage social, relational, political, and theological realities.


Apology Forgiveness Process Victim Perpetrator Power Political Relational justice 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Brite Divinity SchoolFort WorthUSA

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