For starters, remember the Holocaust of the Nazis.
247. The Shoah must not be forgotten. It is “the enduring symbol of the depths to which human evil can sink when, spurred by false ideologies, it fails to recognize the fundamental dignity of each person, which merits unconditional respect regardless of ethnic origin or religious belief”. [Arrival Ceremony, Tel Aviv, Israel (25 May 2014): Insegnamenti II, 1 (2014), 604]
Why? We guard ourselves against repeating it, yes. We endure false equivalencies like masking to protect against disease–this is a lament, but inevitable. We have to remember the Shoah was not just a bad thing to happen to other people so we can compare it to some small pebble in our shoes. It reminds human beings we are not masters of virtue and goodness. God is. We can align ourselves with virtue and goodness, but we will never be co-authors with God. Every do often, we will stray from the Master’s narrative and write our own story and put ourselves at the center of the universe. Others will remember and draw us back to the main theme.
How do we respond to memory? One way is to pray honestly:
As I think of it, I cannot help but repeat this prayer: “Lord, remember us in your mercy. Grant us the grace to be ashamed of what we (women and) men have done, to be ashamed of this massive idolatry, of having despised and destroyed our own flesh which you formed from the earth, to which you gave life with your own breath of life. Never again, Lord, never again!”.[Visit to the Yad Vashem Memorial, Jerusalem (26 May 2014): AAS 106 (2014), 228]
Praying with candor and personal insight is one way to approach this as an individual believer. Being able to do this as a parish community or Church, this is another. Once we are able to do this with regard to abuse and its cover-up, we will be on the path to healing. While we still convince ourselves we have reformed, and without any significant outward reform, beyond what lawyers and insurance companies have imposed, we will struggle. We will continue post-2002 errors.
All citations of Fratelli Tutti (which can be found on this link) are © Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana.