In stereotypical terms, Canadians were always known to be the world’s foremost apologizers, well known throughout the comedy world, for being the quickest on the draw, with the “I’m sorry”. With the rise in popularity of social networks, arm chair critics worldwide have become the gatekeepers of our moral and social fabric. This has created a culture of apologies like the world has never seen. Everyone is deathly afraid of being vilified on the world wide web for fear of becoming pariahs. Like anything else, this new form of being called to account has its plusses and its minuses. The internet has joined billions of people from all over the planet, making it easy to organize in great numbers, speak with one voice. In today’s world of “branding”, it’s in any corporation’s best interest to be as squeaky-clean as possible, so the most powerful people, companies and institutions, are instantly ready to roll out the apology wagon whenever deemed necessary. When I say deemed necessary, I mean as soon as their outed for past wrongdoing, which is not uncommon. In the past, apologizing meant admission of guilt, (it still does), but today it’s hard to ignore the testimonies, documentaries and news items available to everyone, anywhere.
I don’t know a great deal about religion, but, since I was brought up in a catholic family, I think I can pontificate, (pardon the expression), a little about the catholic church. So, Pope Francis came to the great white North to apologize for essentially brainwashing native children by taking them away from their families in order to teach them to forget everything they believed in and new, (native tongue included), in order to fill their young minds with their truth, which, if you know anything about religion, is the only truth. However, being Catholic didn’t prevent the priests and nuns to treat these children in the manner that we now all know. Native North Americans have been claiming foul play for decades with little to show for it. A while back, the Canadian prime minister finally apologized on behalf of the Canadian government, for its role in the atrocities, the very least that could be done. The catholic church has committed many wrongs over many hundreds of years and it’s been in the last few decades that they’ve been forced to open up and admit that not all has been right for a good, long time. After all that has happened in the past to Canada’s native people, an apology isn’t going to make anyone feel much, if any, better, but it is an apology, albeit forced. Although I applaud this modestly more hip pope for doing something that the church should have done long ago, I just get the feeling that most of his underlings aren’t very pleased with the admission. They like to play their cards close and many still believe apologizing is a sign of weakness. The church has been weakened severely because of its dark past, like any large institution, many skeletons reside in their gilded closet and prefer to keep them there, carrying on business as usual, but in these days of digital information, you can’t afford to keep quiet.
Yes, I believe Pope Francis came to Canada to shine a brighter light on the catholic church, but by being there, he could feel first hand, the pain caused by his predecessors, so that’s a good thing.