Conscience needs to be nurtured and educated, and the preferred way to form it – at least for those who have the grace of faith – is to relate it to the biblical revelation of the moral law, authoritatively interpreted with the help of the Church and the Holy Spirit.
The truth is that one cannot remain a prisoner of the past, for individuals and peoples need a sort of “healing of memories” so that past evils will not come back again. This does not mean forgetting past events; it means reexamining them with a new attitude and learning precisely from the experience of suffering that only love can produce healing, whereas hatred produces only devastation and ruin.
Certainly, forgiveness does not come spontaneously or naturally to people. Forgiving from the heart can sometimes be heroic – the pain of losing a child, a brother or sister, one’s parents, or one’s whole family as a result of war, terrorism, or criminal acts can lead to the total closing off of oneself from others. People who have been left with nothing because they have been deprived of their land and home, refugees, and those who have endured the humiliation of violence cannot fail to feel the temptation for hatred and revenge. Only the warmth of human relationships marked by respect, understanding, and acceptance can help them to overcome such feelings. Thanks to the healing power of love, even the most wounded heart can experience the liberating encounter with forgiveness.