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.