(RNS) Following the lead of Pope John Paul II, Roman Catholicleaders nationwide will apologize this weekend for the sins committed bymembers of the church against a number of groups, includingnon-Catholics, homosexuals, Jews and African-Americans.

"We will be looking back to those moments when, through her members,the church was not faithful to herself, to the message of Christ, andit's good for us ... to name those things," said Cardinal Bernard Law ofBoston, according to the Associated Press. Law was to hold a prayerservice Saturday (March 11) to apologize to Jews, African-Americans,non-Catholics and other groups.

Archbishop Rembert Weakland of Milwaukee and Archbishop MichaelSheehan in Santa Fe will also issue appeals of pardon, the AssociatedPress reported.

During a service Friday night (March 10), Sheehan was to askforgiveness from groups such as other Christians, Native Americans andvictims of sexual abuse.

Weakland, Sheehan and Law join church leaders in Colorado andCalifornia who have already issued apologies.

On Thursday (March 9), Archbishop Charles J. Chaput in Denver askedJews to forgive Catholics for, among other things, "the ignorance andprejudice which still exist" against Jews. His letter followed anapology Monday (March 6) by Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles tohomosexuals, members of other faiths and other groups.

"We must continue our many efforts at all levels to bring peopletogether in a spirit of mutual respect and cooperation," said Mahony.

The apologies come at the beginning of the Christian season of Lent-- a 40-day period of contrition. Pope John Paul was to ask forgivenesshimself for Catholics on Sunday. During a Day of Pardon Mass in St.Peter's Basilica, the pope was to express regret for past wrongs of theCatholic Church, including the Crusades and the Inquisition.

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