Seares: When a Pope Apologizes

By Pachico A. Seares
Sun Star

July 21, 2008

IT WAS the second apology from Pope Benedict XVI when he said Saturday during World Youth Day that he was “deeply sorry” about sex child abuse by Roman Catholic clergy in Australia.

In April this year, during a US visit, Pope Benedict also said he was “deeply ashamed” about the sex scandal involving American priests.

Pope John Paul II, whom Pope Benedict succeeded, made the same apology for erring priests at least 10 times from 1992 to 2001, according to an Associated Press listing.

To most people, the two popes’ apologies dripped with sincerity: “Shame and pain” were felt “truly and deeply.”

Yet victims of priests say that wasn’t enough. Victims want to see justice done and predators in cassocks stopped.


True, Pope Benedict told bishops and seminarians in Sydney that “those responsible for these evils must be brought to justice.” And local church leaders say they’re doing just that.

But the public sees little of what the church justice machinery does. Until now, the church still has to disclose findings of any in-house investigation conducted on a priest.

Even some priests admit lack of transparency, fretting over the blot on image of church and clergy and conceding that secrecy raises suspicion of cover-up.

A film documentary produced last year for Cebu Citizens-Press Council and Cebu Press Freedom Week, titled “Covering

Priests: Clearing the Air, Bridging the Gap,” cited as major handicap the reluctance of church officials to share information.

Not knowing if justice is done, victims of priests cannot shut out some hollow ring to the apologies.


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