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Devout Catholic, Mark Wahlberg asks forgiveness for crime committed as a teenager, is forgiven by victim
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Devout Catholic and Hollywood star, Mark Wahlberg has received a pardon from a man he was accused of attacking and blinding in 1988. Wahlberg was once an unruly teen, but after his brush with the law he changed his ways and is today a devout Catholic. Now he has been forgiven by the man he wronged.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Mark Wahlberg, 43, has carried an awful burden for 26 years. In 1988, when he was just 16, Wahlberg attacked a Vietnamese man on the street in Boston. That act of evil landed Wahlberg in jail. According to police, Wahlberg hit his victim so hard in the face, he blinded him.
According to documents filed in the Boston court where he was convicted, Wahlberg approached a Vietnamese-born shopkeeper who was carrying crates of beer into his store. That shopkeeper, identified as Thanh Lam, was struck by in the head by Wahlberg who assailed him with a stick. Wahlberg wanted to rob the man, but after striking him unconscious, the teenager fled without anything.
As he ran he encountered Johnny Trinh. With a police car approaching, he asked Trinh to "police coming, let me hide!" After eluding the police, he hit the shocked Trinh in the face.
Wahlberg was later caught and Trinh identified him as his assailant.
Wahlberg pled guilty to assault and was sentenced to two years in prison, but was released after 45 days with the remainder suspended. It was around that time that he sought -and found his faith.
Quitting his life of crime, Wahlberg became a rapper, and later one of Hollywood's most sought-after actors. He also grew in his faith. Meanwhile, Trinh recovered and continued to live his life with his family, unaware of who really hit him that day.
Now, 26 years later, Wahlberg has decided to ask for a pardon from the state for his crime, and his filing has attracted media attention. When Johnny Trinh learned of the news, and that Wahlberg believes he blinded him, Trinh was quick to set the record straight. Trinh was not blinded by Wahlberg in 1988, but had lost his eye fighting the communists in Vietnam.
The 59-year old Trinh says he has forgiven Wahlberg who really didn't injure him. Although he was hurt in the assault, he recovered quickly. Trinh has told the media that he is happy for Wahlberg and hopes he receives his pardon. He has also said he would like to meet the now-famous actor who found his faith after committing a felony.
It is unclear of the governor of Massachusetts will agree to pardon Wahlberg.
Much is made of jailhouse conversions which are almost cliche. Despite this sorry fact, some people truly do come to their faith through unfortunate means. The scriptures tell us of the apostles, some who were great sinners before they encountered Christ.
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We must remember, nothing has changed since those days. There are still felons, but there is still Christ and his salvation.
As Catholics we have confession because we believe sin has a communal aspect. We need the pardon of God, which comes from our sincere repentance, but we are also right to ask the pardon of our neighbor whom we have wronged.
We pray that Wahlberg meets Trinh and the two men, who once met as felon and victim, embrace one another as brothers in Christ. What rejoicing there is in heaven for this day!
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