"Pope Offers Apology for Sex Abuse Scandal," so reports the NY Times (cf: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/21/world/europe/21pope.html?emc=na.
Confronting the sex abuse scandal currently spreading across Europe, Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday apologized directly and personally to victims and their families in Ireland. He expressed "shame and remorse" and admitted "your trust had been betrayed and your dignity has been violated."
His message came in a long-awaited, eight-page pastoral letter to Irish Catholics. It seemed couched in strong and passionate language, but it offered no direct reference to any kind of immediate disciplinary action beyond sending a special apostolic delegation to investigate unspecified dioceses and religious congregations in Ireland.
It was, as the Vatican said it would be, focused particularly on the situation in Ireland, even as the crisis has widened in Germany via the Pope’s brother and elsewhere.
Such messages are too often merely verbal manipulations by a popular celebrity,politician, or sports figure.They are delivered to secure the best position for effecting controlled public relations. The right words are spoken, but too often serious action dies and is buried in the investigating committee (any pastor knows about this kind of practice).
Such practices have been criticized within the Vatican-controlled religious community for more than one-hundred years--a century or more. Public relations remain tightly controlled, leaving the papal hierarchy still well positioned in their lucrative positions of political pride and power--something hard for any human to relinquish.
Should the Vatican hierarchy or the Priesthood ever become serious about the real issues of their ethics and morality, they would address them with the fervor with which they address abortion and similar they give attention too (they would do something more than talk).
They would address and correct such practices as the supreme wisdom of Papal decisions, the corruption of political power by the Vatican, and they would return to the biblical authority of Scripture (the faith once delivered to the New Testament Saints and the common priesthood of believers).
I often admired Pope John 23rd as a world figure. Yet, I seriously wonder at the right of any individual to “Papal Authority”, and I challenge the Pope’s bid to retain the status quo of that morally corrupt and ethically deficient Hierarchy that calls itself a church, while continuing to misread Scripture and misguide well-intentioned seekers.