A British vicar whose daughter was killed in last year’s London suicide bombings has stepped down from her parish role, saying she cannot and does not want to forgive the killers.
The Rev. Julie Nicholson said she had taken the difficult decision after her 24-year-old daughter Jenny died in the July 7 bombing on the underground transport network.
She said she could not reconcile her faith with the feelings of hatred she has towards the killers.
“I rage that a human being could choose to take another human being’s life,” she told a regional BBC program. “I rage that someone should do this in the name of a God. I find that utterly offensive.
“Can I forgive them for what they did? No, I cannot. And I don’t wish to. I believe that there are some things in life which are unforgivable by the human spirit.”
Nicholson was the vicar at St Aidan church in Bristol, west England. The city’s bishop, Michael Hill told Reuters he fully understood her decision and praised her honesty.
“Julie hasn’t lost her faith and I would say that she hasn’t lost hope, but I would say that understandably she doesn’t want to be ... standing behind the altar and serving the Eucharist or preaching a sermon,” he said.
Instead, Nicholson will work with a community youth arts group, something that was previously important to her daughter.
“I think what she has done is find something which is at a level that she can deal with without surrendering her integrity on the one hand and without surrendering her priesthood on the other,” Hill said.
Hill, a close family friend, added that although Jesus Christ teaches followers to love their enemies, he also criticizes those who are hypocritical.
Nicholson’s daughter was travelling on a train to a new job when four Islamist suicide bombers blew themselves up, killing 52 innocent people. She was one of seven who died at a blast at Edgware Road underground station.
Nicholson and her husband Greg traveled to London in the wake of the attacks to search for their daughter but she was confirmed dead five days later.
Over 1,000 people attended her funeral in August last year.
The 52-year-old vicar, who has two other children, has been on compassionate leave from work ever since the attacks.
“It’s very difficult for me to stand behind an altar and celebrate the Eucharist Communion and lead people in words of peace and reconciliation and forgiveness when I feel very far from that myself,” she said.
“So for the time being, for the moment, that wound in me is having to heal.”
Nicholson was ordained a vicar in 2000.