Children Come First...

Approximately once a month I toddle down to Newtownards at an unearthly hour on a Sunday morning to do a stint on their Sunday morning Christian magazine programme, Dawn Reflections, with Vanessa Jones. My role is to comment on the Sunday papers, from a faith perspective, and to do a pre-prepared 3 minute review of the key story or stories in the previous week's news. What follows is, broadly what I said in that review this morning.
There are various rules, regulations and guidelines regarding what you can and cannot say that anyone broadcasting on radio has to observe, and all of us at Downtown have had to have training in them. There are also personal rules that I operate by for these reviews of the week’s news (rules that I generally carry over onto my blog)… I try not to focus on salacious stories no matter how dominant they are in media… and I tend not to comment on negative stories affecting other denominations… hence I left it to my Presbyterian colleague to comment on the problems with the Presbyterian Mutual Society last year…
However, this week I break that rule, in mentioning the release of the Report of the Commission of Investigation into how the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin dealt with allegations of child abuse during the period from 1975 to 2004. I do so with great sorrow; sorrow for the victims of that dreadful abuse and sorrow for many faithful brothers and sisters in Christ within that denomination who feel that their reputations have been tarnished along with the rest of the church.
Not to mention it would be to ignore the elephant in the studio… but we’re good at that in this island… whether it be turning a blind eye to sectarianism, racism, homophobia or in this case a horrendous catalogue of child abuse and a systematic attempt to cover things up. I can see that those who hushed things up thought they were preventing scandal from rocking the church… but that has actually produced an even greater sense of scandal… And rightly so… Seeking to protect the good name of the institutional church, and worse, as it seems also seeking to protect the economic assets of the church, exacerbated the original offences… it revictimised the victims… exposed other children to danger and ultimately brought shame not only on the church but the name of Christ himself… because the Bible describes the church as his body…
We are coming into that season when we remember that when Christ first took on bodily form, he came as a helpless child into the world… Later, when he had grown up, in the face of his followers keeping children from him (probably for easily understood but unexplained reasons) he said “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, because the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” The original Greek suggests that Jesus was angry with his disciples, though the NIV, RSV and Catholic Jerusalem Bible all translate it as "indignant", because you can't have an angry Jesus can you? The King James Version and old Catholic Douai Bible translates it as "much displeased." I wonder whether he would be indignant, much displeased or incandescently furious at the behaviour uncovered in this week's report.
How many Christmases must we celebrate? How many baptisms must we share in before we realize the import of those facts… The Kingdom belongs to the children… And how dare any of us… any priest or pastor in any denomination… any bishop, archbishop or church administrator, forget that… Children come first…



Anonymous said…
Snauzer say's,

Just a quick thought....

Where's yer big man in all this, God im'self is he not
omnip'otent,(all powerful)
omnipresent,(present everywhere.) omniscience,(knowing everything.)
The real"Jim i'll fix it"

or as usual do the above not really apply in this case. or is he just not able, no where to be found.

What about all the prayers/ so sorries /the lord will take revenge just wait and see.

Funny how the Bible tells us that God is evil. Isaiah 45:7...He{god} creates light and darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster, I the Lord do all these things "Any argument that asserts that "evil is the result of Human free will" must first get over the fact that the christian God creates evil and disaster itself.Not only does he create them but actively "does" them too.

Lamentations confirms that free will cannot stop evil, when evil comes from "God."

"The 2nd Century Marcionite Christians believed that the Old Tetament God was evil"

lam 3:37-38

The new testament agrees "God is evil" Luke 6:43-44}.(Math 10:34-37)Luke 12;51-53)

In anycase He's just not there is He, you don't hear from him, see anything, nothing, not even an earthquake,or a ball of fire to let you know he cares for heavensake.

We canstantly have to rely on those who speak to him personally every day to tell us whats up with im, there is at least one in every congregation who has a wee yarn over a cup of tea.

Best make do without then, maybe the next flood eh,

As for the rotten priest's.. was God down the coast again on a wee break.
Missing again I ask ya--- why do we bother. you'd be better of without.

They'll just move the rotten ones down to Ballygobackwards say a wee prayer to somebody dead for a few thousand years and that's it done and dusted. " Who's playing Manu' on saturday"it's on the box.

Ya know haven't read a line from the other churches. Meths-Presy's etc; 'heavens hope they're not up to anything', but God probably not watching anyway so that's all ok.

With all this constant trouble wouldn't ya just wish for somebody with power to do a wee bit of good now and again.

Regards anyway Snauzer
Was waiting for your comment...
As for God in this... I'll leave him to answer for his actions or inactions... But the human beings involved should answer for their actions or inactions in all of this... Yes we can get angry with God (if you believe in a God) but we cannot pass the buck to him... any of us...

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