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Music composed by Michelle DiBucci

For centuries, forgiveness has belonged to religion. It was expressed in prayer and meditation. Though its practice varies, it is embedded in all of our religious texts. Muslims pray five times a day asking for forgivingness. During the month of Ramadan there is a holiday called The Night of Power when Muslims stay awake all night praying for forgiveness, so that the scroll of their actions will be cleansed of their sins. The Day of Atonement, a most important Jewish holiday, is centered on forgiveness. By its long attachment to the Catholic sacrament of penance, forgiveness has become synonymous with a hushed and private whispered exchange between priest and sinner. For Christians, Christ’s final words on the cross asking God to forgive those who crucified him are the defining text. While it was once a uniquely religious word, “forgiveness” is now changing, and there is no consensus about what it is, or what it is becoming.