I've read only excerpts from the Papal apology concerning sexual abuse by holders of Catholic offices, and I both support and question it. That he has made an official apology is a very good thing. That he has said he takes pastoral responsibility and feels empathy is a very good thing. Neither should be ovverlooked or downplayed. For all the crimes which have been inflicted by Catholic priests (teachers, monks, nuns, etc.) there must be an acknowledgement of responsibility and of compassion. If there had been no apology at all, the situation would continue to be fester. Someone had to take a stand on the issue so that reconciliation can begin.
My only question is with regard to timing. I would have liked this move earlier than WYD2008. These crimes have been happening for too long, and I feel that this apology should have been given years earlier. One needs only read through a page or two of Marquis de Sade's 120 Days of Sodom to know that these vile practices occurred long before WYD2008. Nevertheless, an apology has been made and it is time to move forward.
I also question the immediate need for financial compensation for victims - but I ask this question without looking into matters of lost income as a result of mental trauma. Rather than appealing for compensation first and foremost, I think that a reconciliation is a more appropriate first step. Passing money from the Catholic Church to the victims does little to heal the hurts or mend the wounds felt by these victims. Truth and reconciliation must come first. Counselling should be provided to the victims and their families long before cash is calculated. Someone who is emotionally hurt will remain so whether rich or poor.
Don't doubt my position on this issue. The acts are vile and should never have happened. The apology is late but it has happened. It is time to move forward in reconciliation.