Forgiveness and self-forgiveness in Santiago cathedral

Tom completes his pilgrimage in Santiago and attends the traditional and, for many, emotionally compelling pilgrim mass in the cathedral.
Personally I was unmoved by the experience, albeit I was interested in the rituals and the profound effect on members of the congregation.
Now I admit that I am teasing because I do not wish to give the plot away too much and want you to read the entire novel in a one night sitting, unable to tear yourself away even for a moment, when it appears.
Suffice it to say here that Tom has met the man whom he holds responsible for the tragedy of his life and who is waiting for Tom in the cathedral and seeking absolution.
What is the personal responsibility for an unconscious action, a moment of carelessness which changes lives forever?
How do we forgive someone who has changed our life irrevocably?
How do we learn to forgive ourselves?
Why do we blame ourselves for matters when the rational part of our brain knows that we are innocent of any culpability?
Is it not fascinating how we constantly rewrite and reframe our pasts until we have a narrative which suits us and fits the person we have become: perhaps more accurately, the person we would have liked to become?
How will Tom respond to this plea for help?
What does Lucy think of Tom’s response to this figure from his past?
What has Tom learned from his pilgrimage walk?

3 thoughts on “Forgiveness and self-forgiveness in Santiago cathedral

    1. brunswick123 Post author

      Heart rending indeed and often it is a child or an outsider who says what others dare not say. It is what happens when spiritual feelings become institutionalised religion or when race or ethnicity blind us to our common humanity. I would add that, yes, everyone loses in a war in one sense, but can there be a just war? Is it not important sometimes to stand up against injustice and is it possible that fighting back is the only way forward? I hate writing this, but is it not true in extreme cases where reason has disappeared as a solution?

      Reply

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