Should we forgive Lance Armstrong for his public deception on using performance-enhancing drugs? Writes the Rev. James Martin, SJ:
I have some very complicated feelings about Lance Armstrong’s upcoming confession and, I presume, apology on Oprah Winfrey’s show.
As a Jesuit, a priest, a Catholic and a Christian, I believe that everyone deserves the opportunity for forgiveness. Our faith is founded on a forgiving love. It’s surely the hardest part of being a Christian, but perhaps the most essential. Jesus himself forgave his executioners from the Cross. Later, after the Resurrection, Jesus forgave Peter, after Peter denied him three times before the Crucifixion. And Jesus asked his followers to forgive one another “seventy times seven” times. Finally, one of his most famous parables is the Prodigal Son, who is forgiven by his father even before asking for pardon.
So it’s pretty clear what the Christian is supposed to do: hard as it may seem, forgive.
Read more of Martin’s explainer on how to think morally about Armstrong here at America magazine.
Dive deeper into the spirituality of public confessions: Lance Armstrong’s doping confession: An American ritual. “A nonreligious star athlete confesses his sins to Oprah. Only in America.”