Well, it must be said that Pope Benedict’s visit to the United States was an unqualified success. The editorials of the papers have been glowing and I could not believe the coverage that CNN had. They kept repeated over and over again the segments about the Pope meeting with survivors of sexual abuse by priests. These people shared how meaningful and healing the experience was for them. Certainly there were those who were not satisfied. There are unresolved issues with regards to the lack of oversight by some of the bishops. But that wasn’t really the main point for the survivors. They needed and got a simple and humble apology as well as the presence of the entire Church at their side in the the person of the Successor of Peter. It was quite moving.
This morning’s Toronto Star reprinted an edited version of an editorial from the Los Angeles Times which mentioned that it was not only what the Pope said that made a difference, it was also what he didn’t say. When speaking of the sexual abuse he made an important distinction between pedophiles and gays and lesbians. When he spoke to the academic community, he challenged them to be true to their identity but he didn’t point fingers. In fact I think, from the look on his face, B16 was probably thrilled to see how vibrant and dynamic the Church in the United States seems to be.
Our neighbours to the south sometimes confuse us in Canada. We don’t always “get” their choice of leaders [that’s understating it, eh!] and we are sometimes left confused by the whole individual liberty vs. common good debate as it surfaces with gun-control, capital punishment, universal health care and other such issues. But we must admit we are blessed to have the U.S. “americans” as our neighbours. This is equally true of the Catholic Church. It’s a little bit, ok, a lot, more politicized than the Catholic Church in Canada, but my oh my, it is an exciting community!
I pray and hope that this has been a time of healing and hope for our brothers and sisters down south.
Good job, B16!