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Holy Men: Encounters with Pope Benedict XVI and the Dalai Lama

Holy Men: Encounters with Pope Benedict XVI and the Dalai Lama

By Suzanne Degnats
On September 22, 2010, I attended a blessing service given by Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican in Rome. One month later, I attended two sessions with the Dalai Lama in Atlanta, Georgia during his visit to Emory University. Being an outsider both to the Catholic religion and to Buddhism, I found many similarities at the events surrounding these two political and religious leaders.

Roman Polanski and the Challenge of Forgiveness

Roman Polanski and the Challenge of Forgiveness

One of the most fascinating events for those interested in the relationship between religion and secularism occurred in 1997. In 1997, Geimer publicly forgave Polanski. This event has caused some scholars of religion to reflect on complex questions: Does forgiveness, a nominally “Judeo-Christian” practice, have a place in the American law system, or in the public sphere? Or is this too simple a reduction? Some might argue that forgiveness is a universal practice, one practiced across many different cultures. In either case, there seems to be a strong aversion to substituting punishment with forgiveness in the U.S. (with perhaps the exception of a presidential pardon). Our law, in general, centers around a retributive form of justice, one in which criminals have to “pay” for their crime with their time, labor, or life. Forgiveness flies in the face of this kind of justice.