Wednesday, April 29, 2009

That Is No Apology

There is an enormous difference between expressing sympathy for the plight that someone else has experienced, and the kind of apology that acknowledges the role that one (or ones organization) had in that situation.

Vatican Press Release:

...the Holy Father expressed his sorrow at the anguish caused by the deplorable conduct of some members of the Church and he offered his sympathy and prayerful solidarity. His Holiness emphasized that acts of abuse cannot be tolerated in society. He prayed that all those affected would experience healing, and he encouraged First Nations Peoples to continue to move forward with renewed hope.

"Sorrow" is not the same thing as accepting responsibility and taking ownership of what happened. But then, coming from this Pope, I don't suppose I have any right to be surprised - he seems to have a knack for picking the wrong thing to do.

Residential schools are a particularly shameful chapter in Canada's past, and most of the parties who played a role in it have formally apologized - except for the Vatican. It is disappointing indeed to see the Pope failing to take any kind of ownership over the role of the Roman Catholic Church in that era.

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