Monday, March 22, 2010

SHOULD THE POPE APOLOGISE?

Many years ago I remember that a relationship of mine floundered because I was always too quick to apologise. I was rather battered by events at the time so was always saying sorry for even the most minor of infringements. Time has moved on, and whilst I will gladly hold my hand up if I am in the wrong, I do not wear my guilt as a hair shirt.

Hence I do not approve of the current vogue that sees our political leaders rushing to apologise for sins that were committed by their nations centuries or even decades ago. So I beg the question should the Pope be apologising for the child abuse cases in Ireland?

Before I go on regular readers of my blog will know that whilst I was brought up a Catholic I have long since lapsed. I also have to stress that whilst I was taught by nuns, brothers and priests – and spent much time in their company – I have never been subjected to any abuse mentally, physically or sexually.

However it is quite clear that Catholic children have suffered at the hands of the very people who they should have felt they could trust the most in Ireland, Germany, the USA and around the world.

Yet was it the Pope’s fault? It could be argued that as the head of the Catholic Church the buck stops with him. Many popes may have liked to think that they were the almighty but if you are a believer then ultimately the buck stops with God – and hence when the offending priests, bishops, cardinals and popes face their maker they will have to answer for their sins.

A bishop stated on television on Saturday that if properly read the Pope’s letter to the faithful in Ireland would take around 40 minutes to get through. That sounds to me like punishing the congregation more than the clergy. I also fear it is diverting the attention away from the pervert priests and guilty hierarchy.

My priority would be for the paedophile priests to have the full weight of the law thrown at them. If the hierarchy were complicit in a cover-up then they should also be charged as accessories. I was going to say that both are nothing more than common criminals but that of course would slander many err-do-wells who may have broken the law but do not sexually abuse the innocent. None-the-less justice will not be served until they are shamed in courts of law and thrown behind bars.

If there is a God – whoever he, she or it may be – then religious justice will follow in due course and not be handed out by men in robes in Rome who for so long were happy to look the other way.

For now we have to settle for criminal justice which should not be lessened or avoided because of a government’s subservience to the Holy Roman Catholic Church or any other organised religious group.

I firmly believe the abused children should receive retribution – I just question whether the Pope is the man for the job.

4 comments:

Tony Murphy said...

As chairman and managing director of the worlds biggest organisation,yes the Pope is responsible for the actions of his executives.
In the real world this means those directly responsible should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and those who tried to cover it up or simply turned a blind eye should be prosecuted as accessories.Apart from any criminal charges,the church itself has got to impose some sort of sanction in order to maintain it's credibility. These are not "slap on the wrist offences" - these are gravely serious crimes.It is just incomprehensible to me that the archbishop of all Ireland,who stands accused of covering up the abuse was the one to deliver the Popes message.But this is only the beginning.You can be certain that it's only a matter of time until similar stories come out about the clergy in Spain and Italy, and those will be the revelations that will rock the Catholic church to it's foundations and may precipitate it's total collapse.

Tony Murphy

Mary said...

If there are any apologies to be made - and to my mind there should be even though it goes little way to compensate - every man jack of them should apologise for having protected colleagues instead of handing them over.They knew, they knew, they knew.

CraftyPip said...

For most decent law abiding citizens, to admit fault and take responsability for your own errors or wrong doings takes a lot more than people imagine, as no one likes their integrity or ego to be knocked in any way.
To have to apologise for someone else´s wrong doing,is in my oppinion a humiliation, but one which needs to be done regardless of the circumstances surrounding it.
Unfortunately, in this case the offender gets off lightly as someone else spares them the humiliation.
Who would take an apology directly from the offender without saying to themselves, "They are just saying that because they have to, they are only sorry that they got caught"
I think that the public have to weigh in their own minds as to the integrity and sincerity of any apology.

GibTalk said...

There is no shadow of a doubt in my mind that the Pope, as head of probably one of the most powerful organisations in the world, should apologise for the terrible harm that some of those working for him have done to people, harm that will have scarred their victims' lives for always.

But this is the least he should be doing. This must be followed up by a rigorous disclosure of all those clerics in the Church that have been known to have committed these terrible crimes, and, whatever their age or state of health now, they must be brought to justice, such as war criminals are hunted down and eventually brought to justice.

Recognition of sin is the first step to reconciliation with the God these people profess to others. This must be followed by repentance, and offering restitution by paying a penance. Only then can any form of forgiveness be made. Isn't that, roughly, what these priests have spent their lives preaching?