The Blame Game Revisited
When Don Imus got caught out using offensive language on his radio show last month, he issued an apology, actually employing the word "sorry" in his official statement (not to mention "thoughtless and stupid"). Soon after, he was fired.
He might have been better off attempting one of those "non-apology apologies" that are a ubiquitous part of our culture, not least in the realm of business. McDonald's, in 2002, having neglected to mention that its french fries contain beef by-products, shied away from forthrightly saying to its angry vegetarian customers: "We made a mistake." Instead it used the passive voice--the infamous "mistakes were made" formulation--thereby avoiding a direct admission of wrongdoing. The same phrasing appeared not long ago in a statement by Cardinal Edward Egan of New York. Referring to clergymen who may have failed to deal properly with charges of child molestation, Cardinal Egan said: "If, in hindsight, we . . . discover that mistakes may have been made . . . I am deeply sorry." The mangled grammar--shifting from active to passive to active voice, from a conditional "if"-clause to a main clause with the wrong verb form (it should be "I will be deeply sorry")--suggests a confused point of view at best.
Matthew 5:22-24, But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
Matthew 18:15, Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.