Reconciliation

Syllabus
12:644 Vengeance To Forgiveness

Spring Semester (January - May) 2003
Saint Meinrad School of Theology
St. Meinrad, Indiana

Room H430 -- Tuesdays -- 1:15 p.m. to 3:05 p.m.

Rev. Thomas Richstatter, O.F.M., S.T.D,
Professor of Sacramental / Liturgical Theology

Course Description

Assigned Reading

Additional Resources

Objectives

Method

Strategies

Schedule of Topics and Assignments

Evaluation and Grading

Participants

Course Description

In today’s often hostile world, we sometimes wonder if human forgiveness is just and appropriate, or if it is even possible. This seminar employs contemporary "forgiveness studies" to examine the passage from vengeance to forgiveness and eventually to reconciliation. We will attempt to understanding something of how God forgives. We will then try to find ways in which the Church's liturgy can help people pray "forgive us our trespasses as we forgiven those who trespass against us."

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Assigned Reading

Enright, Robert D. and North, Joanna (Editors). Exploring Forgiveness. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1994. ISBN 0-299-15774-1

Wiesenthal, Simon.  The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness.  Revised and Expanded Edition, New York:  Schocken Books, 1998.  ISBN 0-8052-1060-1.  Paper.  $13.00.

Julia Upton, R.S.M., A Time for Embracing. The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, ISBN 1-8146-2373-5.

 "The Rite of Penance" (any edition.  In class I will use) The Rites of the Catholic Church, Volume I,  pp 517-629,  Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 1991. ISBN 0-8146-6015-0.

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Additional Resources

Pope John Paul II.  Message for Word Peace Day, January 1, 2002. 

Catechism of the Catholic Church. Washington D.C.: United States Catholic Conference, 1994. ISBN 1-55586-513-5. "Part Two: The Celebration of the Christian Mystery, Section One, Chapter One: The Paschal Mystery in the Age of the Church," nn 1066-1134; Chapter Two: The Sacramental Celebration of the Paschal Mystery," nn 1135-1209. "The Sacraments of Healing," nn 1420-1532. (= CCC)

Code of Canon Law, "Book IV: The Office of Sanctifying in the Church," canons 834-839; "Part I: The Sacraments," canons 840-848; "Title IV: The Sacrament of Penance," canons 960-997.

Dallen, James. The Reconciling Community: The Rite of Penance. Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 1986. Paper. 446 pp. $19.95, ISBN 0-8146-6076-2.

Kennedy, Robert J. (Editor).   Reconciling Embrace:  Foundations for the Future of Sacramental Reconciliation.  Chicago:  Liturgy Training Publications, 1998.  ISBN 1-56854-114-7.  $12.00.

Martos, Joseph.  Doors to the Sacred: A Historical Introduction to the Sacraments in the Catholic Church.  Revised and updated edition. Liguori MO: Liguori/Triumph. 2001. $21.95. ISBN 0-76480718-8

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Objectives

The hoped for outcomes of the course are:

1.  A better understanding of the dynamics of human forgiveness.

2.  Insight into ways in which the ministry of reconciliation is central to the mission of the Christian Church.

3.  Familiarity with the current rites for the Sacramental Reconciliation.

4.  A better understanding of divine forgiveness.

5.  Skills in devising rituals which can help people better pray "forgive us our trespasses as we forgiven those who trespass against us."

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Method

1.  We will begin the course with an overview of the history of reconciliation in the Church and the ways in which the Sacrament of Reconciliation has been celebrated.  The Sacrament is both the starting point and the end point of the course.   Reading:  Rite of Penance.

2.  We next turn to contemporary "Forgiveness Studies" and learn what psychology and related sciences can tell us about the process of forgiveness.   Reading:  Exploring Forgiveness.

3.  We will test the dynamics of human forgiveness against case studies of how have various people responded in a specific situation calling for forgiveness.   Who can forgive?  What can we forgive?  How do we forgive?  Reading:  The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness.

4.  Finally we will begin the transition back to the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  Reading:  A Time For Embracing: Reclaiming Reconciliation.

5.  We will then "put it all together" and attempt to devise rituals which celebrate God's forgiveness and help the participants to forgive one another and to be reconciled to God.  Reading:  Rite of Penance.

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Strategies

1.  I will present the syllabus and present an overview of the material.

2.  Exploring Forgiveness will be studied by means of students presenting a chapter of the material followed by discussion.  We will do this on two successive days.

3.  The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness.  Each student will be assigned ten of the responses to present to the class for discussion.  Each student will then present his/her own response.

4. Each student will present in class one of the chapters of A Time For Embracing: Reclaiming Reconciliation.

5.  Each student will compose a usable "Rite II" for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  This script is to show how the material studied in the course can be applied in a parish. (Students taking the course for three credits rather than two will be required to do this final exercise twice.)

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Schedule of Topics and Assignments

Class #1:  Tuesday, January 28 – Syllabus
Before Class Read:  No assignment.   
Before Class Write:  No assignment. 
During the class time:  Presentation of the syllabus and assignments  Chapter d12 Introduction to Each of the Courses I Teach   Chapter r12 Introduction to 12:644 Vengeance and Forgiveness   Overview of the history of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  r28 Second Vatican Council

Class #2:  Tuesday, February 4 – Exploring Forgiveness (I)
Before Class Read:  Rite of Penance, Exploring Forgiveness, pp  i to 14
Before Class Write:  Post on Angel a reflection on Marietta Jaeger's story of forgiveness.
During the class time:   Survey of the Rite of Penance  Discussion of postings on Jaeger story.

Class #3:  Tuesday, February 11 – Exploring Forgiveness (II)
Before Class Read:  Exploring Forgiveness, pp 15 to 74
Before Class Write:  Post the material you will use for your class presentation
During the class time:  Class presentations of Chapters 3 to 6.  Chapter 3. Scott Nobbe and Lawman Chibundi; Chapter 4. Cynthia Kramer and Carl Schmitt; Chapter 5. Bob Richards and Paul Stokell; Chapter 6. Ruth Girten.

Class #0:  Tuesday, February 18 – Snow Day -- No Class

Class #4:  Tuesday, February 25 – Exploring Forgiveness (III)
Before Class Read:   Exploring Forgiveness, pp  75 to the end
Before Class Write:  Post the material you will use for your class presentation
During the class time:  Class presentations of Chapters 5, 7 and 8. Chapter 5 Paul Stokell; Chapter 7, Ruth Girten; Chapter 8. Scott Nobbe and Ralph Patterson.

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Class#5:  Tuesday, March 4 – Sunflower (I)
Before Class Read:   Sunflower pp 1 to 98
Before Class Write:  Post your response to Wiesenthal
During the class time:  1:15 to 2:00  students will present the material in "Exploring Forgiveness" that we did not cover last week:  Chapter 9. Carl Schmitt; 10. Bob Richards; 11. Paul Stokell; 12. Lawman Chibundi (approximately 10-15 minutes each).  If there is time, I would like to discuss additions to the web page Chapter 81 Interpersonal Forgiveness so that there can be some "accessible" result of our discussion of "Exploring Forgiveness."  
2:05 to 3:05 each participant will present their response to Wiesenthal as posted on ANGEL.   When making your response, ask yourself if  your study of Enright’s "Exploring Forgiveness" gives you any insight into your reactions to "The Sunflower"?   What are the theological parallels with the Sacrament of Reconciliation? 

Class #6:  Tuesday, March 11 – Sunflower (II)
Before Class Read:   Sunflower pp 99 to 190
Before Class Write:   Post a comment on each of the responses assigned to you -- that is, in one posting, comment on each of the responses assigned to you, a short paragraph on each, and then maybe a personal statement of conclusion.  Total about 400 words or one computer screen of text.  Note:  It will be helpful for your class presentation if you indicate in your posting the page number in "Sunflower" that you are referring to in your comment.  Do not summarize the book.  Each member of the group is to have read the entire book, including the authors you are commenting on. 
During the class time:  Presentation on "Exploring Forgiveness" Chapter 12 by Lawman Chibundi.  Discussion of postings to discover what particular insights these authors bring to Wiesenthal's dilemma. 

Class #7: Tuesday, March 18 – Sunflower (III)
Before Class Read:  Sunflower pp 191 to the end
Before Class Write:   Post a comment on each of the responses assigned to you -- that is, in one posting, comment on each of the responses assigned to you, a short paragraph on each; conclude with a "concluding paragraph"  stating what you have learned of forgiveness from our reading and discussion of "The Sunflower."  Total about 400 to 500  words.  Note:  It will be helpful for your class presentation if you indicate in your posting the page number in "Sunflower" that you are referring to in your comment.  Do not summarize the book.  Each member of the group is to have read the entire book, including the authors you are commenting on. 
During the class time:  Discussion of postings.  (Does anyone want to join Ruth in presenting Upton Chapter 1 for next week?) 

Class #8:  Tuesday, March 25 – A Time For Embracing (I)
Before Class Read:  Upton pp i to 62
Before Class Write:  Post your class report.  Note:  do not simply summarize the book.  Presume that each member of the class has read and studied and digested the material in the book.  Your comments are to be your critique of the book -- your pastoral experience, personal experience, theological studies related to the topic, etc.  You may post individual statements, or work together on a joint statement.
During the class time:  1:15 - 2:15 Reports on Upton:  Chapter 1. Reconciliation at the crossroads, Ruth Girten and Ralph Patterson; Chapter 2. Reconciliation in American society Today, Carl Schmitt, Paul Stokell, and Scott Nobbe; Chapter 3. Reconciliation in Sacred Scripture, Lawman Chibundi, Bob Richards.  For the lecture notes see The Reconciliation of Penitents, Chapter 8 Grace and Sin    2:15 to 3:05 Fr. Tom will present an overview of the final project for this course.   Further instructions on this assignment can be found at r12 Introduction

Class #9:  Tuesday, April 1 – A Time For Embracing (II)
Before Class Read:  Upton pp 63 to the end
Before Class Write:  Post your class report.  Note:  do not simply summarize the book.  Presume that each member of the class has read and studied and digested the material in the book.  Your comments are to be your critique of the book -- your pastoral experience, personal experience, theological studies related to the topic, etc.  You may post individual statements, or work together on a joint statement.
During the class time:  Reports on Upton:  Chapter 4. Through the Lens of History, Paul Stokell and Ruth Girten.  See also the lecture notes at Chapter 28 The Second Vatican Council; Chapter 5 Reconciliation as a Sacrament, Lawman Chibundi, Ralph Patterson and Bob Richards; Chapter 6. For the Sake of the World: Reclaiming Reconciliation, Carl Schmitt and Scott Nobbe.

Class #0: Tuesday, April 8 – Retreat
Class #0:Tuesday, April 15 – Holy Week

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Class #10:Tuesday, April 22 – Rite of Reconciliation (I)
Before Class Read:  Work on your final project
Before Class Write:  Your original Rite for Reconciliation.  Further instructions on this assignment can be found at r12 Introduction
During the class time:  Present to the class your original Rite for Reconciliation; then together we will discuss, critique, and evaluate the proposals. 

Class #11:  Tuesday, April 29 – Rite for Reconciliation (II)
Before Class Read:  Review the course readings in preparation for your concluding essay.
Before Class Write:  Those taking the course for 3 credits (Ruth Girten, Scott Nobbe, Bob Richards, Carl Schmitt, Paul Stokell) post a second example of an original Rite for Reconciliation.  Further instructions on this assignment can be found at r12 Introduction
During the class time: Present to the class your original Rite for Reconciliation; then together we will discuss, critique, and evaluate the proposals. 

Class #12:  Tuesday, May 6 – Conclusions / Evaluation
Before Class Read:  Review notes and texts.
Before Class Write:  Concluding essay.  Further instructions on this assignment can be found at r12 Introduction
During the class time:  For a summary of the criteria used in evaluating the scripts for the original Rite for Reconciliation see Chapter 81 Interpersonal Forgiveness -- Conclusions.  Discussion of the postings.  Concluding statements.  Process comments.  Written evaluation for the school.   [The class will not meet on Tuesday, May 13.]

[Graduation Day, Saturday, May 10]

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Course Requirements

1. Technology.  Participants in this course are expected to have:  a personal computer or access to a computer; the ability to access websites and download and print files; the ability to send and receive e-mail; and the ability to post essays and enter into discussion on ANGEL.

2. Reading.  Participants are expected to read the materials listed in the syllabus above and to read and review the class lectures which will be given as hyperlinks in the syllabus.

3. Written Assignments.  Participants are expected to complete the written assignments given in the syllabus above.  Unless otherwise noted all written assignments are to be posted on ANGEL. Assignments that are due "before class" are to be posted on ANGEL a minimum of 4 hours before the beginning of the class period.  While the postings of reflections, experiences, etc. may be "personal" they should not be so "personal" that you would not want them shared with the class.  All postings on ANGEL for this course are open to being read by the class and discussed during the class periods.

4. Class Participation.  Each participant is expected to actively participate in the group work, oral presentations, class reports, discussions, sharing of written work, etc. which will comprise the class time.  Absences from class for reasons other than illness are to have the prior approval of the professor.  Students will be evaluated on their ability to articulate to the professor and the other participants what they have read and learned; their ability to enter into dialogue with and to critique the findings of the other participants; the quality of their insight into the process, the method, and the content of the course; and their ability to apply these findings to pastoral situations.

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Evaluation and Grading

I will read and grade each of the ten major postings / class presentations within a week of the assignment and post your grade and a comment in your grade book in the TOOLS section of ANGEL.  Your grade for the course will be the average of these ten grades.  I may raise [or lower] the average because of good [or poor] class participation.  

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Participants
Spring Semester 2003

1.  Lawman Chibundi (2 credits)
2.  Ruth Girten (3 credits)
3.  Scott Nobbe (3 credits)
4.  Ralph Patterson (2 credits)
5.  Bob Richards (3 credits)
6.  Carl Schmitt (3 credits)
7.  Paul Stokell (3 credits)

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© Copyright: Tom Richstatter, Franciscan Province of St. John the Baptist, Cincinnati Ohio, Order of Friars Minor. All Rights Reserved.  This page was created by Fr. Thomas Richstatter, O.F.M.  Every effort has been, and is being made, to acknowledge sources when the ideas are not my own.  Any failure to comply with the United States Copyright Act (Title 17, United States Code) will be corrected immediately should I become aware of it.  This site was updated on 01/20/10 .  Your comments on this site are welcome at webmaster2@tomrichstatter.org.