Wednesday, July 30, 2014


Most of us probably remember the apology tour that St. John Paul II conducted towards the end of his life. I wondered then exactly what good such a gesture was supposed to do. Pope Francis has me wondering again.

“Catholics were among those who persecuted and denounced the Pentecostals, almost as if they were crazy,” Francis said. “I am the shepherd of the Catholics and I ask you to forgive my Catholic brothers and sisters who did not understand and were tempted by the devil.” 

First, I'm assuming that there was some sort of "persecution." Considering what is going on in the Middle East, I am somewhat loathe to use the word here, but I'm taking the comments at face value.

Second, considering that the modern Pentecostal movement typically goes out of its way to target and convert Catholics, oftentimes those most uneducated and poverty-stricken, are we not supposed to denounce their false beliefs? Latin America has been ravaged by this scourge, usually through "prosperity gospel" claptrap. Is the Pope somehow unaware of this? Given the hyper-aggressive proselytization that so many Catholics face, perhaps we are due an apology.

Third, what good do these gestures really do other than to confirm the worst black legends of false religions?

Rewinding a bit to the second point, has England ever apologized for its thievery during the reign of Henry VIII? I ask because I don't know. Maybe they did. I don't recall the US government ever apologizing for assisting the Mexican government in trying to exterminate Catholicism. Perhaps it's because they know that such empty actions are meaningless.

On a similar note, will we get a separate homeland for persecuted Christians in the Middle East? Of course not. There probably won't be any left anyway. Maybe just an apology then?

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