Preemptive apologies

Pope John Paul II has issued a mea culpa for 2,000 years of his church’s history, a millennium wrap-up that apologizes for sins of omission like the Holocaust, before which the Catholic Church remained silent, and sins of commission like the Inquisition, the persecution of learning (Galileo) and the Crusades. But while we are apologizing for past misdeeds, isn’t it time to offer preemptive apologies for our current sins of omission and commission?

A future pope will need to be told of the death of a mother who was killed by Israeli soldiers near the Palestinian city of Hebron a few hours before Pope John Paul arrived for his historic trip to Israel. Halima Al-Aloul—mother of 12, the youngest of whom is two—was killed by Israeli soldiers as she and her husband tried to drive away from an army checkpoint.


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