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Philomena

I wathced Philomena, the film based on Martin Sixsmith book.

If you haven't watched, I highly recommend it. Though prepare for an emotional roller-coaster.

For me the issue was that the nuns were effectively stealing these children away from single mothers and selling them to rich American Catholic families. They judged the women, or in some cases girls who became pregnant and treated them cruelly. They did not even give the mothers the chance to say good by to their children. They lied to get out of facing the consequences of their actions.

The Catholic Church and other churches too are facing a legal actions because of the child sex-abuse by clergy and many people seeking compensation. However, it strikes me that they also should be facing the consequences of this type of crime against unwed mothers and their children who were forcibly parted and who were deprived of the chances of reuniting. This should be called what it is - CHILD ABDUCTION.

You, reader, are hopefully not responsible for actions as extreme as those described in this film, but it strikes me, that at the root of these actions was the view that sex was sin, and so the nuns believed that what they were doing in the belief that it was justified by the supposed sinful actions of the "girls". One wrong is not corrected by the perpetration of another wrong, and in the grand scheme of things, I believe that what the nuns did in the name of Christ and the Church was FAR MORE SINFUL than the supposed sin of the "Philomenas" - even if they enjoyed the sex. I hear someone saying - one sin is as bad as another and they all make us unworthy of Salvation - to which I say - that is nonsense. Are you really saying that someone who steals a few items from a shop is as bad as a mass murderer?

My concern is that we feel justified in our assessment of the perceived wrong of others to justify our own actions - we perceive someone to be lazy and thus deserving of their desperate situation, and refuse to give them anything, even though we could afford to. We make assumptions about a person based on the way they dress, their accent, or some other peripheral issue and then judge them. Not long ago I saw an article in the Evening Standard about a man who due to undignosed bipolar disorder, was singing a Rihanna song out loud on a tube train. Other passengers though it was hilarious and without his permission recorded a video which they posted and which went viral on YouTube. Them man fortunately was subsequently diagnosed and is getting the help he needs, but that video was an embarrassment to him. I wonder how the original poster would have felt if the man had been so mortified (the word comes from the Latin mors - death) him that he commit suicide? Maybe the poser felt entitled since the man was in a public space, and in the apparent opinion of the poster, deserving of ridicule.

This morning in Church there was an interesting prayer of confession which really struck me - I'd like to share it with you. (Slightly modified)

Forgive me, God of healing and humility, when I use the power of the crowd (or any other leverage at my disposal) to isolate and demonise those who are different, vulnerable or unwell. 
May I never exclude where I can embrace, or hurt where I can help but follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, the Saviour and Lord of all. Amen




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