The Pope's Apology
"Memory and Reconciliation –
The Church and the Fault of the Past"
Most people would be favorably impressed by
John Paul II’s making an apology. They would think, when they
see this bent-over, elderly gentleman, very pious-looking, making
a public apology, how could there be something lacking in that?
But as students of the Bible, looking to the
Word of God, when we view this pope’s apology, we are not
looking at the elderly gentleman. We are considering the system of
which he is the head and spokesman.
What is John Paul II saying for the system?
And what is God’s Word saying concerning that system?
We realize that one of the stratagem is to make
a pre-emptive strike to try to remove condemnation from the papal
institution. Then, if others point to Papacy as being the
anti-Christ system, the Man of Sin, it will appear as though they
are being hateful and unforgiving. Thereby, the accusers will be
the ones who look as though they are being judgmental and
condemnatory and negative, and Papacy will appear as the victim on
the defense. People will flock to their side, to support them and
say, "They apologized for all that past. Get over it. What’s
the matter with you?" But we know that God’s Word has
rendered a judgment that will stand–and it has not yet been
fully meted out.
On a specific day in March–the first Sunday
in their Lenten season–the pope had a special service
celebration in their Jubilee year 2000. This celebration was for
public repentance for past sins of the Catholic Church. A homily,
which was a short address, was given by the pope. Then a series of
seven universal prayers were offered by seven different bishops
for seven specific categories of sins that were apologized for.
Then there was a Mass. That was the celebration of the day.
Preceding all of this, the Vatican had had
several years diring which thirty different scholars worked on a
document. The document is entitled and can be download from their
webpage, "Memory and Reconciliation–the Church and the
Fault of the Past."
This documentation was not speaking of the
fault of the present, but of the past. This was completed in
December of 1999, under the auspices of the International
Theological Commission. The president’s name is Joseph Cardinal
Ratzinger, the prefect for the Congregation for The Doctrine of
the Faith. The Doctrine of the Faith had a more ominous name in
times past–The Office of the Inquisition–the same office, but
now with a different name.
Behind the scenes, there was great opposition
on the part of church leaders against the pope’s proposal to
make this apology. It was not an easy pill to swallow. Many didn’t
want to do it at all. But Pope John II was so insistent that he
carried the day.
The commission came up with this 35 page long
treatise which reads like a legal document. You scratch your head,
and almost wonder what it’s saying–which, of course, is
intentional. We’re fortunate to even get it in English these
days. It used to all be in Latin and there was no hope of
understanding it unless, of course, you were part of the
initiated. Nevertheless, in our day, when the hidden things of
darkness are coming to light, anyone can get on a web page and
download a document. It’s rather fantastic. We can have these
things and read them for ourselves and come to our own
The thought behind the document is: The Seven
Categories of Sins are -- Sins in General, Sins Committed in the
Service of Truth (?), Sins which have Harmed the Unity of the Body
of Christ, Sins against the People of Israel, Sins Committed in
Action against Love, Peace, the Righteous People, Sins against the
Dignity of Women and the Unity of the Human Race, and Sins against
the Fundamental Rights of the Person.
A bishop come forward and offered a prayer for
each of these categories of sins. With great pomp and ceremony, it
appeared very impressive.