Acts of contrition: forgiveness and effective intergroup apologies for historical institutional abuse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

This article examines some of the complexities of the apology–forgiveness nexus within the context of intergroup apologies by church and state for historical institutional abuse (HIA). Drawing on primary research conducted in Ireland, North and South, including the voices of a sample of victims/survivors, it argues that effective intergroup apologies for HIA and the extent to which they might elicit forgiveness among victimized communities are impacted by a range of factors including (1) leader apologies and the ‘normative dilution effect’; (2) the lack of emotion and remorse; and (3) in the case of church apologies in particular, the use of religious rhetoric and ritual. The analysis ultimately suggests that while ‘pure’ forgiveness may not be possible in this specific context, effective intergroup apologies for HIA, delivered in a collective, public context, which have the potential to promote forgiveness among victims/survivors, are those which closely approximate the relational dimensions of private, interpersonal apologies. This entails demonstrating emotion; humility; proximity to historical wrongdoing; connectivity with victims/survivors; and the commitment to non-recurrence.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Review of Victimology
Early online date07 Apr 2023
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online date - 07 Apr 2023

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Acts of contrition: forgiveness and effective intergroup apologies for historical institutional abuse'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this