Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary

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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