Explorations in Theology

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A non-apology?

I recently posted on the pope’s apology to native Americans in a Canadian context. Experience shows that such an apology is part of a chain of events, there being responses that precede and further, deeper apologies that will flow subsequently. Today I read a response from a native American (Lori Campbell) who called the apology a ‘non-apology’. Wow and does she make some points… oh yes.

Here is the link to her article: https://www.yesmagazine.org/opinion/2022/08/05/pope-apology-indigenous-canadians-catholic-church

I still maintain that the pope’s apology is significant, it is part of a chain, but the article highlights major shortfalls, and I think a comment such as:

Money flows where priorities go, and the Catholic Church clearly prioritizes renovations over reconciliation.

opens up the difficulties all institutions have. Survival is the name of the game for institutions. Having life taken from someone / (maybe I also thnnk from something?) is named as a sin, and Jesus did not allow that to happen to him… but the day came when he lay donw his life. Nature, with diverse plants growing together, the end of one set in its right season provides life to the plant growing next to it; maybe during the life cycle it also provided shade. Diversity co-habiting space… but not one of dominance and survival at the cost to others.

Yes I remain positive about the apology… but sobered at the journey we have to make. I wonder will we ever make it back to a major root apology – an apology to the planet / creation? And apparently Lori would suggest that money, apology and reconciliation have to journey together.

4 thoughts on “A non-apology?

  1. A profound truth that Lori has written about: institutions and organisations have a spirit that protect themselves absolutely. I reflect on this heart wrenching article and the piece in the media about the Anglican Church communion avoiding an institutional split because of the LGBTQ+ issues. Sandi Toksvig’s heart-felt letter to Justin Welby, asking him to coffee to debate the issues of where is love – the heart of Jesus – in the Anglican views on same sex marriages, was something I will always remember. He did say he would meet her for coffee to explain the ‘complex issues’ in the worldwide organisation…
    I realise I may get rebuttal comments about the same sex issue, but that is not the point of my comment here: it is about the spirit of institutions to continue despite their producing ‘bad fruit’.

  2. Excellent article from an indigenous point of view. I watched the visit all week and realized that the Pope was speaking one language in terms of reconciliation and the indigenous people, a different one. He was performative overall. I think what happens going forward is critical. On the plane home he did admit it was genocide. That is a legal term and implies certain actions for remediation.
    Ultimately, the people who decide how useful the trip will be indigenous peoples and clearly there are a wide variety of viewpoints there. It might have enabled some to move forward. It was not enough for many others. Application and actions are the crucial follow up tests.
    As a non-indigenous settler in Canada, I believe the task ahead of us is immense. The root issue in the conversation is what kind of place are we going to make together? Fundamentally, like it or not, the land cannot be returned to what is was prior to colonization. So how do we all move forward together? How will our institutions and systems be shaped not just by the past but by the escalating climate change crisis for the future? That requires a robust conversation between us all. My hope is that indigenous peoples will be able to share their knowledge and their affinity to the land with us as those who colonize need to learn from that.
    What struck me over and over again about the visit is how gracious the indigenous leaders were towards the Pope. He was failing to do what was needed in every stop, failing to give the strong statements. But over and over again, they were so gracious to him. They did not hold back from speaking truth but they still treated him with respect. We could all learn from that.

  3. I wonder when the entirety of protestantism will apologise for the abject imminent end-of-the-world heresies they’ve propagated everywhere since Luther onwards.

    Due to these, pentecostal churches have hidden rape, sexual abuse, satanic ritual abuse, and much more.

    I esteem the catholics, because at least they owned up to their junk.

    Protestants/neo-protestants/charismatics? Maybe in a hundred years from now…

  4. The apology from the Pope is a great step forward on the road to reconciliation as the journey continues. As I listen to the First Nations voice… two issues jump out to me, the need to unpick the ‘Doctrine of Discovery’ and the church, considering how this has shaped nations, and how has this affected approaches to the gospel? Secondly misunderstanding of the First Nations honouring protocol, the remarkable grace of giving.

    Here are two of the articles written about these issues…



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