you know Lee, I have tried to explain the value of forgiveness to people who aren't Christians, and sometimes it is frustrating. It's not doing something for someone else; it's something for yourself. I thought this story illustrated it so well and in the most difficult circumstances.
After the Oklahoma bombing, there was one family who publicly asked that Timothy McVeigh not receive the death penalty. I remember the face of that father so clearly, but I can't remember his name. His daughter was killed that day. But, he also was Catholic.
This is something that people have to experience themselves to "get it". being religious may help people more open to accept the concept of forgiveness and be able to try to really to forgive.
I have to say that my study of Buddhism (especially Zen) while I was a late teenager had more influence than Catholicism on forgiveness to me.