Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Saying "Sorry" Isn't So Simple

While the Pope's visit to the Mideast was intended to advance the peace-making process, instead it provides an example of how different parties view the sincerity of apologies, which can result in creating rather than resolving conflict. The New York Times reported that the Pope visited Yad Vashem but did not mention the word 'German' or 'Nazi'; the Israelis were extremely disappointment that the Pope missed an opportunity to condemn antisemitism in a place memorializing the victims of the Holocaust. The Pope's spokesman said, "They expect him every time to repeat. This is not possible." Yet, Rabbi David Rosen, international director of the American Jewish Committee and one of the main intermediaries between the Jewish community and the Vatican said, "It shows a lack of emotional understanding on the need to say certain things in certain places even if you've said them before." (NYT, May 13, 2009, at A8). The lesson: to be sure you have communicated clearly, say what you are going to say, say it, and then say what you've said . . . especially when it comes to saying "sorry."