EDITORIAL: Model of repentenance

We admire Pope John Paul II?s courage this weekend for apologizing for key transgressions committed by the Roman Catholic Church over the centuries. Among the incidents he highlighted were the Crusades, the Inquisition, and any hand the church may have had in the persecution of Jews.

Some have questioned whether a pope on the cusp of the 21st century has the authority to make amends for mistakes committed in centuries past, or whether there was any practical benefit in doing so. But Pope John Paul II took the initiative in an effort to rejuvenate the church with a new spirit for the new millennium.

Maybe the pope?s model of humility and confession will catch on among churches of all persuasions and stripes. The church is a divine institution, but it is comprised of, and sometimes led by, very human members. Too often we claim for ourselves the kind of inerrancy of judgment reserved only for the Founder.

Even locally, churches have made mistakes in dealings with people within and outside their walls in the name of righteousness. The wounded walk among us. When churches, in humility, see themselves as a hospital for sinners and not a haven for saints, reconciliation and healing can begin.

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