Night Waves had a discussion on forgiveness this week, which I took part in (last 10 minutes or so.) We were reflecting on a number of recent instances where the secular state has been exorted to forgive and yet seems unable - the Alan Turing case and others.
Whilst getting some ideas together, it struck me that forgiveness is something that goes on every day in churches, but the state finds it almost impossible to offer, having to hold to the law. I wonder if it's another ramification of the loss of the transcendent in public life. If there's nothing above the law, as it were, there's nothing to suspend the law, as forgiveness requires. In a religious setting, though, the divine is above the law and thus, as the good book says, everything is possible with God.