Today we shall discuss the Non-apology. Because it is the only form of its well-known sibling - the Actual Apology - that we see these days, it warrants some discussion.
Some Anglican bishop over in London decided it would be appropriate to remark that the marriage of William and Kate would last 7 years, and was flim-flam, and the royal family is full of broken marriages and philanderers. He went on to call Charles and Diana, William's parents, Big Ears and the Porcelain Doll. (Okay, I secretly giggled at that.)
Wait. I'm going somewhere with this. He has apologized. Actually, he has apologized for 'engaging in the debate'. Here kids, is a perfect example of my favourite Non-apology. There was no fricking debate that this idiot was invited to. He flapped his gums cuz he wanted to, then apologized for nothing. An Apology would have been: "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that. It was hurtful and unprofessional and uncalled for.". Period. That is an apology.
I'm sick of the Non-apology. People are only sorry 'that your feelings were hurt'. Or people are sorry 'that you heard that'. 'I'm sorry if I offended anyone' is my hands-down best offender Non-apology, evah. Not remotely sorry you said or did, just if anyone took offence.
Let me be blunt: there is nothing you could say or do in the course of your daily life that wouldn't offend someone, somewhere. In our politically correct, touchy-feely world of everybody is speshull, and everybody gets a trophy, it is impossible not to offend someone. We have a whole generation (or two) who have only heard how awesome they are from their well-meaning, backassed parents. Guess what? You're gonna offend them. And especially their parents. There are people who are fueled by being offended - it makes them fly like 'offensive' is high octane fuel. If you are indeed saying something that needs to be said, then say it and stand behind it.
You have a several choices, as I see it.
1. Shut up. Forever and ever, shut up. This is safe. For some of us, it is also unattainable.
2. Say what you mean, and stand by it. This requires you to consider what you're going to say before it flies out of your mouth, but that's not such a bad thing, is it?
3. Say what you mean, then offer up mealy-mouthed Non-apologies that nobody believes, but leaves everyone thinking a little less of you every time.
4. When you screw up, admit it. Deliver a sincere Apology if you're actually sorry. Not for hurting someone's feewings, but for doing something you truly wish you hadn't done, and you don't believe is in keeping with your character.
Let's get rid of the Non-apology altogether. Here is the only thing I can imagine being acceptable: "My intent was not to create offence, though I obviously knew that could be the outcome. That said, I felt it was important enough to say it anyway, and am prepared to withstand the responses that others may find equally important."
Oh, and Bishop? The fact you typed that into a website, and then apologized on Twitter, yet said you can't understand how it got out there leads me to believe you are stupid as you are mean.