Pope John Paul II's apology Sunday for the sins of the Roman Catholic Church through the ages hit area Catholics in an admirable way.
Many priests and Roman Catholic Church members said the pope's apology was the right thing to do and it came at the right time. Ash Wednesday was last week and it is a time of penance and for forgiveness of sins through Easter Sunday.
The pope's apology was to right the wrongs from the past -- such as the crusades -- and to start the healing process.
Father Dennis Hoffman of Immaculate Heart Catholic Church in Crosslake said the Catholics have been around for 2,000 years and that is a lot of time to make mistakes. Hoffman said it was a good idea for the pope to apologize.
"It's part of his responsibility as a leader to apologize for the wrongs of the past," he said. "It makes sense to do it now (with Lent)."
Members of Immaculate Heart agreed with Hoffman.
"It was a generous gesture from the pope," said Isabel Kunkel, president of Catholic Women. "There are a lot of burdens people have and I hope (the apology) will heal a lot of people."
Kunkel said she is not concerned about the problems of the past. She is worried about today's problems.
Gene Preiss, also a member of the church, said he believes the pope did a beautiful thing.
"We live in an imperfect world and everyone makes mistakes," he said. "Pope John Paul was humble enough to apologize for the mistakes and that is moving in the right direction."
Father Richard Kunst, St. Francis Catholic Church in Brainerd, agreed.
"I don't know of any other pope who would have done this -- to go out on a limb like that," said Kunst. "It took a lot of courage."
Father Edward Foster of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, Pine River, said the pope didn't need to apologize, but it was a gracious tribute to people of all faiths to find peace.
"The Universal Shepherd showed a wonderful, good example," said Foster.
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