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(RNS) — The catchphrase “Love means never having to say you’re sorry” was more memorable than the film “Love Story,” where it was uttered twice. At first the words sounded nice, but on reflection they made no sense at all, especially to a Christian.
Saying you are sorry is itself an expression of love. It can be an expression of sympathy toward someone who is suffering or it can be an expression of regret for having hurt someone.
What could be more loving?
Lawyers often tell their clients never to say they are sorry lest it be taken as an acknowledgment of guilt and liability. During the sexual abuse crisis, Catholic bishops who followed this legal advice got in lots of trouble.
Authority - Figures - Mistakes - Credibility - Roman
Authority figures often fear admitting mistakes to avoid undermining their credibility. This is why many in the Roman Curia thought Pope John Paul II was crazy when, as part of the celebration of two millennia of Christianity, he decided not only to celebrate the achievements of 2,000 years of Christianity but also to ask for forgiveness for the sins of the church during the same period. Such an admission, they thought, would weaken the authority of the church. After all, if the church made mistakes in the past, it could make mistakes in the future, so why should people follow it?
Of course, the opposite happened. John Paul gained credibility and respect for his honesty.
Letter - Chilean - Bishops - Pope - Francis
In his recent letter to Chilean bishops, Pope Francis has admitted he made “grave errors” in judgment in dealing with the sexual abuse crisis there. He had defended Bishop Juan Barros, who was accused of knowing about the abuse done by the Rev. Fernando Karadima but doing nothing about it. Francis said there was no proof. He even accused the bishop’s accusers of “calumny.”
Eventually, Francis did the right thing...
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