Sorry, not sorry

If this offends anyone, well, I’m sorry, but I’m just not sorry.

In the course of ministry, there are times when it’s neccessary to ask for forgiveness, and there are times when we’re tested in our ability to forgive. In the big moments, “sorry,” can sound so empty and patronizing, often because we use it in moments when an apology is unnecessary.

In the real moments of forgiveness “I regret…” says so much than “I’m sorry…”

“I made the wrong choice, can you forgive me?” requires a level of humility that illudes us even in advanced maturity.

None of the forms of the Penitential Act ever use “sorry.” Rather they delve into personal accountability, they remind us that we make poor, even heinous choices, and they lead us to consider the way our actions affect others. “Sorry” is a word that pleases others. “Sorry” absolves us of any empathy. It never really asks us to think about what we’ve done.

If “sorry” did the job, children would go to the Rite of Sorry, not the Rite of Penance. While there are several versions of the Act of Contrition which make use of “sorry,” several do not, including this one from the
Vatican website:

Lord have mercy on me
Do not look upon my sins
But take away all my guilt
Create in me a clean heart
And renew within me an upright spirit

Below is a video about what we can do to stop apologizing for the things that are part of who we are, for the things that are beyond our control. In effect, when we’re called to seek true forgiveness, our apologies will be that much more sincere.

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