USCCB News Release
May 16, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
'Choosing To Forgive' An Interfaith Religion Special To Air Sunday, June 8, On The Cbs Network
WASHINGTON – Choosing to Forgive, an interfaith religion special on the meaning and practice of forgiveness, will be broadcast Sunday, June 8 on the CBS Television Network. For exact airing time check your local station.
Choosing to Forgive presents the idea of forgiveness from both a religious and a scientific point of view. Several major faiths teach we must forgive those who do us wrong. In recent years, the subject has interested psychologists who have studied it as a potentially effective means of getting past wrongs and injustices.
This special presentation is produced in cooperation with the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission (IBC), including the National Council of Churches, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), a consortium of Jewish organizations and the Islamic Society of North America.
"IBC suggests a variety of ideas to the CBS production staff. We look for topics that relate to many faiths. Forgiveness seemed a natural topic for all," said Ellen McCloskey, assistant director of the USCCB's Office of Digital Media.
The broadcast features Robert Enright, Ph.D., author and professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who has championed the cause of forgiveness therapy as a scientific tool. He and his wife have introduced forgiveness education into the curricula of elementary schools (the first in Belfast, Northern Ireland; and then Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin) as a way of training children to cope peacefully with stress and challenge.
The broadcast also includes interviews with several individuals who have moved successfully in life despite terrifying experiences. Some have done so through an act of faith and others have had therapy.
Lynn McGuinn and Talat Hamdani lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center; Eric Wurzel, whose mother deserted him as a child, became addicted to drugs and alcohol for 30 years and was able to forgive himself and his family; Rev. Walt Everett, whose son was murdered in 1987, befriended the killer over time and the two have appeared together to tell their stories and speak about forgiveness.
Ada Wolf's son was murdered by an off-duty airman in 1965, and yet grew over time to forgive and admire the killer; and Grace Roidt suffered for more than 30 years before talking to forgiveness therapists about her dysfunctional family and an older brother who raped her. Grace was able to get past the crimes of her youth with the help of Suzanne Freedman, Ph.D., now an associate professor at the University of Northern Iowa, who convinced her to try.
The special also includes a visit to St. James Catholic School in Madison, to see first graders learn the basic steps in forgiveness. The program hopes to aid them in choosing to forgive throughout their lives.
John P. Blessington is the executive producer and Ted Homes is the producer of Choosing to Forgive.