Skip to main content


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


Popular posts from this blog

Boundary Marker

Wednesday evening and time for Vespers at St Mary's. However this was different. Along with the usual, wonderful calming tunes that permeate the environment, and the sound of the bells and the ringers practice their changes, this Wednesday had a visual component, the work of two local artists. Christine had an installation that explored the link between clothing and boundaries. It was the words "boundaries, real or imagined" that caught my imagination. I thought about the many boundaries that exist. Particularly our imagined boundaries. Or maybe not imagined, maybe they really do exist, in our own minds. 

Boundary Marker Where is your boundary marker?
What is your boundary marker?  A row of pebbles, or a painted line in the street?  A fence topped with barbed wire,  A brick wall with broken glass, set in concrete?
Is there an entry or an exit, or is it entirely enclosed? Is it it a sanctuary, a place of safety and solace, Or are you serving a sentence, self-imposed-  Of s…

Lament and Rejoicing.

Philippians 4:4 clearly is a command to Rejoice - Always. How is that humanly possible - especially when faced with the terrible things that happen that can only be described as tragic. How does the believer marry these two seemingly polar opposite responses to what life throws at us.

There is in the Bible the Hebrew book of Lamentations - which is read during the fast day of Tisha b'Av (9th of Av [Hebrew Month]) It is a period of Mourning for observant Jews, when they mourn the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. On Tisha b'Av (Wednesday 2nd August 2017) It begins at sunset of the previous evening, when we gather in the synagogue to read the Book of Lamentations. Besides fasting, we abstain from additional pleasures: washing, applying lotions or creams, wearing leather shoes, and marital relations. Until midday, we sit on the floor or on low stools.

We also know that Jews commemorate the terrible evil of the 20th Century - the Holocaust. This is also an annual looking back…

Prayer of Lament

My last blog was about Lament and Rejoicing. I spoke about the mournful memories of past and the reflection on tragedies and injustices whilst as Christians, we remember that there is a "city on the hill" and we have hope.

In that Blog I was reflecting on the Jewish commemoration known as Tisha b'Av - remembering the destructions of the Temples in Jerusalem, both Solomon's Temple destroyed by the Assyrians and the Second Temple destroyed by the Romans.

I also reflected on the commemoration of one of the most hideous battles of the First World War, that took place a century ago - the Battle of Paschendaele - where a quarter of a million lives were lost. Yes ultimately the Germans surrendered and the Allied forces one, but it was an horrendous war and that was a particularly horrendous battle.

I also reflected on the passing of the 1967 Sexual Offences Act that partially decriminalised homosexual activity - a good thing - but also a marker that things were not good an…