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They lecture the priest on the virtues of charity and compassion.

Someone who thinks divorce is abhorrent can “forgive” divorce.You can forgive theft, or murder, or tax evasion, or something you find abhorrent.I mean, from a utilitarian point of view, you are still doing the correct action of not giving people grief because they’re a divorcee. All I’m saying is that if you “forgive” something you don’t care about, you don’t earn any Virtue Points.(by way of illustration: a billionaire who gives 0 to charity gets as many Utility Points as an impoverished pensioner who donates the same amount, but the latter gets a lot more Virtue Points) Tolerance is also considered a virtue, but it suffers the same sort of dimished expectations forgiveness does.The priest tells them: It seems to me that you only pardon the sins that you don’t really think sinful.

You only forgive criminals when they commit what you don’t regard as crimes, but rather as conventions.

He further notes that this is why the townspeople can self-righteously consider themselves more compassionate and forgiving than he is.

Actual forgiveness, the kind the priest needs to cultivate to forgive evildoers, is really really hard.

I want to avoid a very easy trap, which is saying that outgroups are about how different you are, or how hostile you are. Compare the Nazis to the German Jews and to the Japanese.

The Nazis were very similar to the German Jews: they looked the same, spoke the same language, came from a similar culture.

But since forgiveness is generally considered a virtue, and one that many want credit for having, I think it’s fair to say you only earn the right to call yourself ‘forgiving’ if you forgive things that genuinely hurt you.