We will do this, and the Church’s detractors will say, as usual, that it isn’t enough.
Watch the vocabulary in this piece from The Independent.
My emphases and comments.
Pope will make historic apology for abuse
Vatican hopes unprecedented act of penance at June jamboree [?] will defuse anger over worldwide claims
By John Phillips in Rome
Pope Benedict XVI is planning to make the first general apology for the abuse of children and minors by Roman Catholic priests when he meets thousands of clergymen from around the world in June at the climax of the International Year for Priests, Vatican sources say.
In the past there have been papal or church apologies for individual cases of paedophilia or for abuse in specific countries, for example during the German pontiff’s recent visit to Malta. What is being prepared now would be the first time a pope seeks to atone publicly for the extent to which paedophilia has been a major stain on the modern history of the church [And while we all acknowledge that even one case is intolerable, this makes the problem sound more extensive than it was.] touching a constellation of countries, say the sources at the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy. It could be considered comparable to the historic step that the previous pope, John Paul II, took in apologising to the Jews for historic church anti-Semitism and for misdeeds during the Crusades, they say.
Vatican officials hope such an unprecedented act of penance by Benedict, together with thousands of clergymen in St Peter’s Square, 9-11 June, will do much to lay to rest [Not if the press can help it…] the scandal and defuse protests that might disrupt his trip to Britain in September. The encounter will form the climax of the special year of events designed in part to encourage vocations to the cloth but which instead has been marred by the mushrooming paedophile scandal.
Vatican sources said the Pope considers the jamboree [?] with the priests in June an appropriate occasion for him to lead the whole church in a "Day of Request for Pardon" of the victims and their families for the wrong done by a small percentage of priests in abusing children and minors in many countries, and the wrong done by bishops in covering up that abuse or protecting the predators.
The meeting would be appropriate for a day of fasting as well as penance, they say. On the papal flight last week-end Benedict made a second allusion to the abuse scandal, and its devastating effect on the moral authority of the church and its pastors, describing the church as the body of Jesus Christ "wounded by our sins".
The respected Vatican watcher added: "It is clear that Benedict has been reflecting and seeking to understand the abuse scandal with the eyes of faith. He seems to be developing a theological and spiritual frame for reading and dealing with this shameful and humbling reality in the life of the church in the 21st century and discerning an exit strategy from it."
Frankly, I think we will see in time to come more than apologies. We will surely start seeing acts of penance as some having been talking about. And people will be replaced.