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the oh-so-compassionate me

By Diogenes (articles ) | Mar 07, 2008

It's back in style: the political fashion of issuing official "apologies" for wrongs committed by others -- especially long-dead others -- in order to cash-in on the compassion sweepstakes and dutch rub the opposition in the process. Australia's Labour Government apologized to the aboriginals last month, and now Canada appears ready to follow suit. Perhaps the following Mea Culpa, first offered in response to the initial wave of vicarious mortification, might bear repeating:

Bless me, Father, for my ancestors have sinned. It has been two episodes of 60 Minutes since my last confession.

-- My parents were unwelcoming of government mandated integration in their working class neighborhood. At least, I 'm not absolutely sure they were unwelcoming, but they had a statue of the Sacred Heart in the parlor, and that was typical of the kind of people that put property values before justice in those days. For these and all their other sins of bigotry I ask pardon and penance.

-- My uncle Louie was part of the 3rd Armored Division in the sweep to liberate Dachau and Buchenwald. He operated a avgas-powered Sherman tank with no concern for carbon monoxide and noise pollution. Also he failed to condemn the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy. For these and all his other sins of emission I ask pardon and penance.

-- Grandma and Grandpa came to America in a leaky freighter. The ship failed to sink picturesquely, and, even had it done so, they would have failed to make a photogenic couple while bobbing in the North Atlantic. Worse still, they had judgmental attitudes towards people with work habits different from their own. For these and all their other sins of provincialism I ask pardon and penance.

-- My great aunt Matilda went without tea during Advent and Lent and gave the money she saved to a home for orphaned Native American children run by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd. She called them "Indians." Also, the nuns forced the children to listen to readings from the Christian scriptures and did not instruct them in Lakota or Passamaquoddy dialects or teach them to value their indigenous spiritualities. For these and all her other sins of keeping the First Commandment, I ask pardon and penance.

-- My cousin was married to a man severely disabled in a mine explosion. He had a drinking problem. Theirs was not a life-giving relationship. Nevertheless, my family members urged patience and forbearance and helped out with small gifts of food and money and saw that the kids stayed in Catholic schools and that the medical insurance and mortgage were paid. They failed to empower her as an individual with her own talents and needs and career opportunities. For these and all their other sins of co-dependence, I ask pardon and penance.

-- Oh and uncle Louie didn't recycle his discarded K-rations.

Morley Safer, I am heartily sorry for having offended thee, and I detest all my sins because of thy vast sponsorship. I firmly resolve, with a Guggenheim grant, to amend my life, do Paris, and void the dear reputations of THEM.

Amen.

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Show 11 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Mar. 10, 2008 3:02 PM ET USA

    So removing children from their families, trying to repress their native culture and discriminating against native peoples isn't a moral issue? Did you read what these governments are apologizing for? Did you read the scripture which clearly says that it is good and righteous to confess the sins of the fathers? Are you just so knee jerk in your opposition to anything remotely liberal or PC? Also a poster condemned the church for apologizing already. Sorry, this attitude is indefensible.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 10, 2008 11:38 AM ET USA

    Re: Rebeccat's comment, there's a distinction to be drawn between those times when the Church apologizes for moral sins and calls its people to repentance (JPII to the Jews, etc.) and when the government "apologizes" for social "sins" and wastes money and time placating professional victims' groups that can never be satisfied.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 09, 2008 10:46 PM ET USA

    Perhaps the church apologized for the sins of those who went before because unlike some of the people here, they have actually taken the time to study scriptures to see what God requires of us. IJS. Leviticus 26:41-43 Nehemiah 9:1-3 Isaiah 65:6-7 Daniel 9:16

  • Posted by: - Mar. 08, 2008 8:43 AM ET USA

    Paris is well worth an apology!

  • Posted by: - Mar. 07, 2008 7:30 PM ET USA

    Bless me Father for my Scottish ancestors have sinned: They were unwelcoming to the Romans and did not present proper housewarming gifts to the sentries at Hadrian's Wall.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 07, 2008 4:35 PM ET USA

    Its not just the apologies the PC's are offering but the vast sums of $$$ they are paying to make up for the wrongs of the past...money that could be much better spent today accomplishing some real good.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 07, 2008 3:54 PM ET USA

    If I need to confess sins of emission I'd better change my diet.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 07, 2008 1:50 PM ET USA

    I laughed and laughed, then remembered our very own Cardinal Ouellet recently made public apologies for the Catholicism of his Quebec predecessors! Incredible, but true! Even Uncle Di in all the glory of his imagination on steroids can't hit PC home runs like Cardinal Ouellet! See: http://www.inquisition.ca/en/serm/fierte_quebecoise.htm

  • Posted by: - Mar. 07, 2008 12:48 PM ET USA

    Best post ever, Di! If I wait long enough, I'm sure someone will apologize to me (or my great-great-grandchildren in lieu of me) for the utter misappropriation of my tax dollars for fund this PC nonsense.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 07, 2008 11:02 AM ET USA

    "...sins of emission..." hehehe...

  • Posted by: - Mar. 07, 2008 10:40 AM ET USA

    Unfortunately the "apology game" has been a temptation that the Church has yielded to. The spirit of the world is too much with us. It's one thing to acknowledge with regret unsavory things and human sinfulness in the course of history. It's quite another to apologize for them as if there were collective guilt to be atoned for by Church or government. Good intentions do not make this work. Bad intentions like political expediency make this odious.

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