But while this was a step in the right direction, apologizing for the misbehavior of individual priests will never be enough. The church has been reluctant to speak plainly about the heart of its problem: In handling these cases, it put institutional self-protection first.
The church needs to show it understands the flaws of its own internal culture by examining its own conscience, its own practices, its own reflexives when faced with challenge. As the church rightly teaches, acknowledging the true nature of our sin is the one and only path to redemption and forgiveness.
[D]efensiveness and institutional self-protection are not Gospel values. "For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it."
The church needs to cast aside the lawyers, the PR specialists and its own worst instincts, which are human instincts. Benedict could go down as one of the greatest popes in history if he were willing to risk all in the name of institutional self-examination, painful but liberating public honesty, and true contrition.
Fair. Balanced. American.
Friday, March 26, 2010
E.J. Dionne on the Church
Sober, sensitive, and, above all else, sad.