Maybe the Vatican, in dealing with the sex-abuse scandal and its never-ending aftermath, just needs to follow the example of a Saint.
For one thing, unlike the pope, a Saint doesn't need a veteran Vatican watcher to explain to the rest of the press corps, in effect, "Yes, Benedict XVI was addressing the Scandals in this homily. It appears he was being critical of the church and pointing to the need for repentance."
At the Vatican, Christ's injunction in the fifth chapter of Matthew about letting "your 'Yes' mean 'Yes,' and your 'No' mean 'No'," has yet to gain complete traction among those who proclaim it.
IS IT POSSIBLE that, in his own way, a modern-day sinner turned Saint -- as in New Orleans Saints -- might have a better grasp on confession and repentance than many of the pointy hats who've been preaching confession and repentance to fallen humanity since 33 A.D.?
Present-day Saint and former Nebraska Cornhusker sinner Carl Nicks just might. Perhaps they ought to start subscribing to the Omaha World-Herald all across Vatican City:
Carl Nicks returned to Nebraska on Wednesday with a Super Bowl watch, a new tattoo and a humble act of contrition.AN ASSOCIATED PRESS story adds this from Nicks:
Nicks met briefly after practice with head coach Bo Pelini, who banned the offensive lineman from the Huskers’ pro day two years ago. It was an unceremonious parting with the program before New Orleans made Nicks a fifth-round draft pick.
Nicks called the NU football office Wednesday and asked if he could come by — and now plans to stay for the spring game Saturday.
“I figured it was about time to put some water on some of those bridges I burned,” Nicks said.
As soon as the 2007 season ended at Colorado — along with Bill Callahan’s reign as head coach — Nicks stopped going to class, which he counts among the “immature stuff I did.” About three months after Pelini replaced Callahan, he cited an arrest and Nicks being a bad example for returning players in barring him from pro day.
Nicks said it wasn’t until he got to New Orleans and talked with former Husker safety Josh Bullocks that he realized that he was in the wrong.
“For about a good three or four months I had blamed Bo for it and I was blaming other people, and at the end of the day, you’ve got to look in the mirror,” Nicks said. “Once I got a little older, played a little professional ball, I realized how good I had it and just how bad I treated everybody.”
"I'm not who I was then," he said. "It just kind of hurts, to know I made a fool of myself."THAT IS the grace through repentance the Pope was talking about in his homily today -- the one the press was divining for applicability to the Catholic Church's present sins.
Dressed in shorts and a Kobe Bryant Lakers' jersey, Nicks approached Pelini after the coach's post-practice session with reporters. They talked for a few minutes and shook hands.
"I wouldn't be true to Nebraska if I didn't try to apologize to Bo, even though I didn't play for him," Nicks said. "He's the face of Nebraska. I have to make it right with him, Mr. Osborne and everyone I did wrong when I was here."
Osborne surprised Nicks by greeting him as Carl -- "I didn't think he knew my name" - and then told him to learn from his mistakes and finish his college degree as soon as possible.
"I basically apologized to them for being an irresponsible athlete," Nicks said. "I didn't really have to do it, but I felt I needed to do it."
It would be nice if Benedict could just come out and say what he has to say . . . plainly. Specifically. Explicitly. It would be nice if he could do that in personal terms, not hiding behind addressing the "church."
It would be nice if the pope's subordinates -- who have been so quick to unleash public-relations Armageddon on the "evil press" for delving into the sins of the fathers -- could follow the Founder's command (again, from Matthew 5) instead:
40IT WOULD be nice if everybody involved -- the leadership of an institutional church just as in need of confession and repentance as any of us (and maybe more) -- tried to emulate the saints in all this. And failing that, maybe they just could follow the example of a Saint.
If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand him your cloak as well.
Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles.
Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.