Pope Francis, the human head of the Roman Catholic Church, had been widely criticized for failing to take seriously the accusations that a Bishop in Chile had covered up pedophilia by a priest. This past week, he admitted his failure to do so in a clear, straightforward admission that he had been wrong. He did not attack the press who had reported the story. He did not attack fellow religious who had accused him of turning a blind eye toward the Bishop. He said he was wrong. He said he would do whatever was needed to atone for his mistakes.
We all know how difficult it is to admit we have made a mistake. As small children we learn early on to shift the blame to others. Or we learn to change the subject. Or we claim we didn’t know that what we were doing was wrong. Or we said that everyone else did it. Or we said it was no big deal. But those are indeed childish responses to being called out for a lapse in behavior, judgment or speech. Uncomfortable as it is, we learn to accept that we are in fact guilty. Then we seek to do repair work.
My church is lead by a man who takes seriously the truth that we all–including himself–make mistakes. My country is led by a man who believes that he is incapable of error. His ways of dealing with his own failings are those of a child. May he find the courage to act as an adult.