AD2000 - a journal of religious opinionAD Books
Ask a Question
View Cart
Search AD2000: author: full text:  
AD2000 - a journal of religious opinion
Find a Book:

AD2000 Home
Article Index
About AD2000
Contact Us
Email Updates


Add Me
Remove Me

Subscriber Access:

Enter the Internet Access Key from your mailing label here for full access!


'Day of Pardon' (letter)

Bookmark and Share

 Contents - May 2000AD2000 May 2000 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference - Michael Gilchrist
Australian Catholic University student survey - Michael Gilchrist
News: The Church Around the World
How do we know whether a sacrament is valid or not? - Fr Peter Joseph
The priesthood: John Paul II's Holy Thursday Letter sets guidelines - Pope John Paul II
What are the foundations of a good Catholic education? - Dr. John J. Haldane
Understanding the Incarnation - Msgr Peter J. Elliott
Books: Francis Thompson: author of 'The Hound of Heaven' - Michael Daniel
How the future John Paul II saved a Jewish girl's life - Zenit News Service
Letters: Women's report: a reply (letter) - Dr Marie McDonald
Letters: Nothing to do? (letter) - Frank Mobbs
Letters: More on Adelaide (letter) - Margret E. Mills
Letters: Women in the Church (letter) - Marie Kennedy
Letters: 'Day of Pardon' (letter) - Paul MacLeod
Letters: Reply to Fr Frank Brennan (letter) - Richard Egan
Letters: God's love (letter) - Justin Ford
Letters: EWTN visit (letter) - Mike Keating
Letters: Mixed marriages (letter) - John Schmidt
Letters: Archbishop Pell defended (letter) - Fr Kevin Ryan
Letters: Year of the Lord (letter) - Fr Chrysostom Alexander
Books: 'Three Inns of Everlasting Happiness' by Fr Fabian Duggan - Catherine Sheehan (reviewer)
Books: 'The Wisdom of Adrian Fortescue' ed. Michael Davies - Michael Daniel (reviewer)
Books: 'The Legacy of Pope John Paul II' ed. Geoffrey Gneuhs - Anthony Cappello (reviewer)
Books: 'The Ever-Illuminating Wisdom of St Thomas Aquinas' by Peter Kreeft et al - Tracey Rowland (reviewer)
Reflection: Mary's divine motherhood: central to God's plan of salvation - Sr Mary Augustine Lane OP

The media (including some Catholic media) have referred to the Day of Pardon at St Peter's on the first Sunday of Lent as an "apology" by the Pope and/or the Catholic Church. Yet nowhere in the document Memory and Reconciliation: the Church and the Faults of the Past, nor in the ceremony on the day, does the word "apology" appear.

The use of this word suggests that the Pope, or worse still, the Church, has apologised to those who have suffered from the faults of Catholics. Wrong. The Pope addressed himself to God, on behalf of the Church, asking His pardon for the faults and errors of Catholics. Hence the name "Day of Pardon."

The document itself went to some lengths to draw a clear distinction between the Church as the Bride of Christ, "holy and immaculate", and the people who make up that Church, who are sinners and in need of pardon. The document continues: "Since the Church herself is holy, the purification of memory should not be misinterpreted as a suggestion that the Church has erred on questions of faith or morals, or has failed in proclaiming the revealed truth which has been confided to her."

The Australian bishops avoided using the word "apology" and issued a "Statement of Repentance", but blurred the distinction between the Church and its members by using such phrases as "Church, we ..." and "The Church has not been sufficiently alert ...". They thereby missed an opportunity to make clear to Australian Catholics the teaching as expressed by Pope Paul VI: "The Church is therefore holy, though having sinners in her midst, because she herself has no other life but the life of grace" (Credo of the People of God).

A misunderstanding of what the Church really is lies at the root of much of the current crisis of faith in Australia.

Belmont, Vic

Bookmark and Share

Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 13 No 4 (May 2000), p. 14

Page design and automation by
Umbria Associates Pty Ltd © 2001-2004