Wednesday Wrap

Welcome to this week’s Wednesday Wrap, where we highlight some interesting and inspiring stories from recent weeks.

Discussion of forgiveness... on ABC’s Q&A (of all places!)

On Monday’s episode of Q&A, Icelandic writer Thordis Elva spoke about her decade-long journey towards forgiving a former boyfriend who, when she was 16 years old, raped her for a period of two hours.  She wrote to him, nine years after the attack, to confront him about what he had done to her.  To her surprise, he responded with a full, written confession.  But Iceland’s statute of limitations meant that despite the confession, the man could not be punished by the criminal law. 

This left Ms Elva with a choice.  Either she could ignore the response, or continue to engage with her attacker.  She continued to engage, seeking to understand what had happened and why.  The continued correspondence over a period of years led to them working together to speak openly about and confront a culture of rape, and this work eventually brought her to a position where she could forgive him.  She told the audience that forgiveness was not something she did for her attacker, but rather something she needed to do for herself as part of her own healing process. 

I invite you to watch the clip below; if nothing else, it is an extraordinary to see a discussion of forgiveness, in all of its reality and difficulty, occur on the ABC.


FORGIVING RAPE My question is for Thordis Elva. You and Tom Stranger have both spoken about this long process of forgiveness you have both gone through to find some element of peace. A big part of that would have been the way in which Tom was open to that dialogue, and open to your contact after being separated. My question is, in instances where the perpetrator of the assault is not open to that dialogue, not remorseful, or perhaps still in denial about their actions, how can the victim obtain some level of forgiveness or closure? What do you think?

Posted by Q&A on Monday, 6 March 2017


Vigilkeepers continue to defy ACT exclusion zones, with one arrested for ‘reading a book’

Last month, the Canberra Times reported that three individuals in their 70s were fined $750 each for silently praying outside an abortion clinic, in defiance of a new law which forbids such “protest” activity.  The individuals have been praying in the same place for 18 years, and have not let the new law deter them.  The story also tells of a young man who was taken into custody:

Mr Mellor said he saw police on Friday approach a younger man, who was reading a small book and standing on the corner of Alinga Street and Moore Street outside the clinic.


ACT Policing said in a statement that officers "temporarily" took the man into custody to confirm his identity. Once confirmed, he was released and given a caution in relation to protesting in a protected area, police said.

It’s almost laughable; reading a book (presumably a prayer book) is enough to be arrested!  Thankfully, Archbishop Christopher Prowse told the newspaper this week that the Church will not be retracting from its advocacy for life, despite the bans.

Public outcry sees deportation reprieve for autistic girl

Late last month, there were reports that the permanent residency application from a doctor who practises medicine in Sydney’s west was refused on the grounds that the “mild to moderate” autism of her 15 year old daughter was too burdensome on Australia, and that it was not in the public interest for the Department of Immigration to intervene on their behalf.  They were advised to voluntarily book tickets to leave Australia permanently or face deportation.

After their story gained media attention, the Assistant Immigration Minister Alex Hawke phoned the family and said that the Immigration Minister would intervene and personally grant the visas.

While the ultimate result was a positive one, this is not the first time that autism has been used as grounds for threatening deportation.  Surely, we need to fix this, rather than requiring media pressure to influence the decision each and every time.

President Donald Trump calls the bluff of abortion advocates

After the scandal last year which showed that Planned Parenthood clinics across the United States were involved in the sale of the body parts of aborted babies, there has been a push to remove federal taxpayer funds to the Planned Parenthood clinics.  This is often countered by arguments from Planned Parenthood representatives which say that abortion accounts for only 3% of the services provided by their clinics.

President Trump appears to have called their bluff, suggesting that the federal funding could continue if the clinics stopped providing abortions.  Given that Planned Parenthood argues that it is not “core business” for the organisation, it should not really matter.  It will be interesting to see their response.

Monica Doumit, catholicTalk contributor

Wednesday, 08 March 2017 05:49 Written by 


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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in CathTalk blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of all members of that of the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney.