The Pope! The Apology?

A life-altering fact about my life is that the enormous cruelty of a person of my long ago past left me emotionally and spiritually wounded. I have often spoken about the darkness which entered my life because of the effects this person’s actions had on my formative years. One day as we talked on the subject of forgiveness, a friend asked if it was possible for me to find it in my heart to forgive the person who brought such profound dysfunction, through their cruelty, into my life. My answer was, “No, I cannot forgive this person.” Why? It is simply because the person I speak of (now deceased) never came to my door and asked forgiveness of me. If the guilty person would have come to my home and spoken words of regret and remorse for their long ago cruelty, I would have invited the person into the warmth of my humble abode where a circle would be formed. The sacred items of our spiritual beliefs (theirs and mine) would be placed in the centre of the circle and a conversation would then occur. I, as the person who suffered at the hands of the guilty party would expect to hear, in detail, why the person did what they did to alter so severely, my human right to emotional and spiritual wellness. If I felt, because of the words spoken in the circle that the sorrow of the person was real and truly in line with what I define as a genuine ‘act of contrition’, I have little doubt I would forgive the person whose cruelty contributed to my life going out of control in my younger years. To be clear, if the person whose cruelty caused so much emotional turmoil in my life had never sought me out for forgiveness (they did not), then no, forgiveness from me would never have had a chance of occurring. I would be at peace with leaving it in the domain of Creator where I am confident justice would come to pass. No one escapes justice! Not me, not you, not the Pope or any other human being, ‘gets away’ with doing wrong nor will any house of worship (including the Catholic church) guilty of crimes against humanity escape justice after Creator’s historical review takes place.

The Indigenous Peoples of Canada who suffered so greatly at Residential Schools have not waited for the Pope to come to their door. Instead, they have gone to his house  asking to receive an apology for the wrongs of the past. To me, it’s a very strange way of going about it. If the Pope is interested in forgiveness, then it should have been on him to request a time where he could with lowered shoulders, be given an opportunity to plead for forgiveness. The Pope should forever be mindful that the dead children of the Residential Schools have a say in it! Will there be a healing circle where the Pope and Indigenous Peoples can heal together? What will the church do to make amends? I have written 2 poems connected to this very topic. They are found in my book ‘Sitting by the Rapids’. I offer them in this space now and am hopeful that you will spiritually and emotionally connect with them.

Because of You
The Words of the Victim
Albert Dumont©

You pushed me into raging waters
And I wonder
If I will ever be the same

Because of you
I have forgotten the reasons
For the blossoms
And the purpose of the rain

Because of you
Instead of smiling into the dawn
I hide
And shed tear after tear

Because of you
I feel as the rust
That descends onto the beauty
Of the autumn’s maple leaves

Because of you
Peace eludes me
And I know only heartache
Everywhere I turn

It is good that you tell me
That you are sorry
But tell me also
What you will do that will
Restore who and what I was
Before your cruelty
Pushed me into raging waters

Because of Me
The Words of the Perpetrator
Albert Dumont©

I pushed you into raging waters
And now I wonder
If you will ever be the same

Because of me
You have forgotten the reasons
For the blossoms
And the purpose of the rain

Because of me
Instead of smiling into the dawn
You hide
And shed tear after tear

Because of me
You feel as the rust
That descends onto the beauty
Of the autumn’s maple leaves

Because of me
Peace eludes you
And you know only heartache
Everywhere you turn

I regret that I have caused you
Such great suffering
And I am sorry
What would you have me do
That would help you
Restore who and what you were
Before my cruelty
Pushed you into raging waters

Keep the Circle Strong,

South Wind (Albert Dumont)

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6 Responses to The Pope! The Apology?

  1. I. A. Martin says:

    After reading this post and even before, I truly believe that the Pope has to do much more and first of all, he has to learn about forgiveness in the Anishinabe culture and spirituality… Because this is a crime against humanity and no one is above the law! Neither the Pope or his representatives.

  2. Penny Moody-Corbett says:

    I totally agree with Albert Dumont. As I have listened and read about the trip to the Vatican I have repeatedly said this is all wrong. A true apology would have been the other way round. If I have done a wrong to someone, I don’t wait for them to come to me to ask me to apologize, I go to them, I reach out to make it right. The church(es) should be begging for forgiveness for their wrongs, should be reaching out and using their wealth to help recover the losses.

  3. j white says:

    I hope to NOT come across as totally ignorant and unfeeling in my comments. If you have to beg for an apology then it is not worth getting. And why does Phil Fontaine refer to the Pope as “Our holy father” and do some indigenous people in Canada still practice the Catholic faith. There is no denying that indigenous people in North America have been the victims of abuse by countless Europeans. Why continue to worship THEIR god.

  4. J. Martens says:

    Thank you, Albert Dumont, for the deep-seated poems. They landed in my heart.

    I went to church (catholic) the other day, to support an elderly family member. It is so very interesting to hear, in the list of people who we (the congregation) were asked to pray for, the following: “the Indigenous who have suffered”. I’ve brought my family member to three different churches (of the same stripe) lately, on her request, and a version of this sentiment was presented each time. True contrition? Or more stubborn and sanctimonious denial of their very own accountability for the suffering?

    There is still such a long way to go with the catholic church.

    • South Wind * says:

      Thank you for your sentiments, J. Martens. It is very true that the church has a long way to go in the area of understanding what true and real apologies are and what forgiveness means when looked at by God.
      All the best,

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