Friday, 29 May 2009

Chains that bind

So we have all this horrific news from Ireland about abuse among some religious orders. In a month or so we will have another report, this time about the archdiocese of Dublin. After my experiences in Penarth in the late 1990s, I would like to think I know a few things about the fall-out from these cases. Jesus said "The truth will set you free." Either we believe that or not. Personally I do, and so let's get it out, all of it. Some of our fellow human beings, often among the weakest or most fragile, are in chains and have been deeply, deeply damaged. Our society, and perhaps our human nature, is fractured by a tendency to play games, wear masks, bend the truth whatever you want to call it - all variations on a theme. We are so paranoid about litigation etc that we run from the "S" word - "Sorry." And so we don't face one another, or ourselves, and are bound by chains of fear. I don't think the Church is at times all that different, as we are part of that society, and reflect it more than we sometimes want to believe. But the difference is, we preach someone whom we proclaim to be the Way, the Truth and the Life, who called us to love another, and called the children to himself.
In the letter of St James it says "Humble yourself before the Lord and He will lift you up." That was our theme in Penarth for the most meaningful Lent I have experienced. The Lord will have a humble Church. If we don't humble ourselves, then maybe He allows it to be humbled.

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