Notebook

Pardon

No contribution to the World Meeting of Families has received more attention in the secular press (here, for instance) than that of Daniel and Leila Abdallah, a Maronite Australian couple. Their talk called forth a strong response in the aula, too. We all, thousands of us, rose to our feet in tribute to their testimony. The two spoke of pardon. They know more about its cost than most, having lost four children in a terrible accident caused by a drunk, drugged driver on 1 February 2020. The Abdallahs’ Christian response to their loss has had a massive impact in Australia, resulting in the institution of a National Day of Forgiveness. The work of grace in the couple’s life is palpable. Yet they insisted that pardon first of all requires a will to forgive. ‘Forgiveness’, said Leila, ‘is a choice you make’. Daniel added: ‘I had to forgive so that my family would not be imprisoned in the trauma of that night.’ It is precious to be reminded with such simplicity, such authority that no interior prison sentence needs to be final.