Apologies serve a very valid purpose. They indicate the truth of the events. They indicate that the events were wrong and they are an indication of humility. They assume the wrong-doing will not be repeated.
Many apologies have been given, and many people have been encouraged by those apologies, as expressions of the points indicated above. It is usually assumed that the apology is sincere. If it is not, then the benefits do not exist.
It is hard to really tell when an apology is sincere. A lot of victims have not been convinced of the apologies they have received. Yet even an insincere apology is a statement of truth of an allegation, so it still has some point.
Admittedly, some clerics have tried to have it both ways by apologizing but still saying that the apology is not an admission of guilt. This kind does not rank as an apology at all. People who have made this kind of apology must still be pursued for a real apology.
These fake apologies fall into the category of criminals who say sorry, but are really feeling sorry for themselves at being caught.
The fallacy of the apology in general is that it is the beginning of a process, not an end to one. For too many of the abusive organisations, it is a case of “We’ve apologized, so what else do you want from us?”
One of the clearest examples of this kind of apology was the totally meaningless apology from Archbishop Denis Hart for saying “better late than never” at the Victorian enquiry. Somehow, it is expected that the apology should mean the end of the matter.
An apology is merely a prelude to not re-offending and to making up in some way for the offense. This is what has been lacking in so many cases to date. Post-apology responses need to be scrutinized more by the mass media and the general public.
TOMORROW: Ridsdale’s release
That’s all I can say
Lewis Blayse (né Lewin Blazevich)