I for one welcome yesterday’s “sorry” from the Pope, not because it affects me personally, but because it is a good thing to have happened.
IT WAS much longed for and, when it came, Pope Benedict XVI’s apology to victims of clerical abuse took everyone by surprise.
The lines of apology were not included in the text given to journalists before the Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral but were added by the pontiff during his homily, to the joy of victims watching around the world.
Before 3400 guests, including cardinals, bishops, Australian seminarians, victims and pilgrims from around the world, he said: “Here, I would like to pause to acknowledge the shame which we have all felt as a result of the sexual abuse of minors by some clergy and religious in this country.
“Indeed I am deeply sorry for the pain and suffering the victims have endured and I assure them that as their pastor, I too share in their suffering.
“These misdeeds, which constitute so grave a betrayal of trust, deserve unequivocal condemnation. They have caused great pain and have damaged the Church’s witness.”
Of course more needs to be done, but this also needed to be done, and now it has been.
I suspect tonight’s Compass will be worth watching, to gain some insight into the views of intelligent Catholics.
On the occasion of Pope Benedict XVI’s World Youth Day visit, Geraldine Doogue in a two-part Compass special examines thorny issues facing the Roman Catholic Church in Australia: the crisis in the priesthood, and the role of women in the church.
Tonight deals with the matter of celibacy, among other things.
Why I did not join the No To Pope demo
My friend norrie did; the amazing and challenging norrie is clearly visible here:
I will probably see norrie in an hour’s time, so I will no doubt hear more about it. And I have participated in such protests in the past, one very memorable example being described very much as it happened here.
When the Reverend Fred Nile and his fundamentalists march into Oxford Street set on a bit of cleansing I am out there with the crowd. I wear my Mardi Gras T-shirt with additions:
Sept. 1961-Sept. 1989
‘Gone where fierce indignation
can lacerate his heart no more.’
AND FOR LUKE
WHO LOVED HIM
Fred has his thousand, harmless-looking folk pushing strollers, mingled love and fear on their faces as they march up Oxford Street.
But we have five, ten thousand voices chanting NO MORE GUILT! NO MORE GUILT!
And my voice is the voice of three, a trinity of love grief and anger, and in me sing J and Luke and I:
We shall all be free
We shall all be free
We shall all be free some day
And it’s deep in my heart
I do believe
That we shall all be free someday.
And I see his face, a touch side-on, the slightly crooked nose and shy smile, eyes so often fearful, the bursts of anger, the incredible gentleness and my tears choke my singing and a gay man hugs me and says So you’re human after all…
At that time, as you may see, I needed to do that.
Yesterday I had my doubts about the efficacy or wisdom of such forms of protest, and I would not have really wanted to throw condoms at visiting teenagers, even if some of the (presumably) older visitors had need of the advice, as I mentioned in relation to gay saunas, and as this story also notes: Pilgrims boom Sydney sex trade: “Adult Business Association spokesman Chris Seage said the boom in business had taken brothel owners by surprise.” Geoffrey Chaucer would not have been surprised… 😉 Read the rest of this entry »