Apologetical innovation

Quoting Cardinal Keith O’Brien, whose resignation became public today (also, BBC live) after the “inappropriate conduct” thing:

“Looking back over my years of ministry: For any good I have been able to do, I thank God. For any failures, I apologise to all whom I have offended.”

I think this is a nice innovation, a meeting of two sophistries — the “God did all the good, for all the bad you must blame me” one, and the “I apologize at people without specifying what I might apologize about; probably just offending people and it would be kind of silly of them to not forgive me right now, right?” one.


Edit: But to be a bit less facetious, this is a strange case. As I understand it, O’Brien had come out saying the next Pope might consider doing away with priestly celibacy (almost mistyped that as “celibaby” — which is what may happen when celibacy doesn’t), and there’s this theory that these accusers came out because they were horrified by such a radical, 16th-century view. Which, if true, would be doing the right thing for a very wrong reason.

Then, as I understand things, O’Brien is accused of leaning on adult males with his power and authority, trying to get sex — and here the only part to be disapproved of is the power imbalance, not who he was trying to get sex from. But since he himself is publicly a very coarsely anti-gay guy, his supporters are likely to be upset and horrified by exactly the wrong part of the accusations. (Well, assuming they ever get above the exceptional logic of “But he did a good thing! He can’t do bad things!”)

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