MY CREDENTIALS: -28 November 1999, 10am Mass, we were saying the Creed. From where I was standing, to the side at the altar I could see nothing but we were suddenly aware that something was very wrong. To cut a long story short, a man had come into Mass with a sword and started attacking people. He was stopped, he was arrested, in June the following year he was detained indefinitely due to diminished responsibility.
Fast forward two years. Our perpetrator, Eden Strang was now considered by the professionals taking care of him to be safe for release into the community. Just like November 1999, the media went into a feeding frenzy and journalists all over the south east were heading for, telephoning and faxing Thornton Heath.
Various journalists wanted direct quotes and our parish priest met with some, outside the church, one Saturday morning. One of the was a young lady from the Mail on Sunday whom I always saw in my head when I read Harry Potter and encountered Rita Skeeter, why? This is why.
Fr John explained to the journalists that as Eden did not know what he was doing was wrong, we had nothing to forgive, therefore, we don’t talk about forgiveness, we talk about reconciliation. Our Rita wrote it up as ‘we cannot talk about forgiveness’ giving a wholly different spin on his words of Christian love.
Leap forward to last week when a Brighton local journalist played the same game with Fr Ray Blake’s blog on the poor. Fr Ray wrote nothing that any Christian would argue with. However, our hack, love him, for some reason did not see the last, vital sentence of Fr Ray’s blog “My big difficulty with confession at the moment is that I have grown complacent in my lifestyle, I don’t want it changed, the message of the Gospels seem to be let the poor into it to mess it up a little.”
Fr Ray in a further post asks for forgiveness for the journalist, to misrepresent by omission is not the act of a Christian, to forgive is.
There has been much blogging and ….stuff.. written about all this, my sad view is rather than leaving the defense of Fr Ray’s blog to Fr Ray and the correct channels, all that’s ultimately happened is our young hack has got himself a story that has spread worldwide, but that is, as I said, only my view.
But none of it, not even this blog is worth reading except this http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/timstanley/100234719/it-can-be-hard-to-forgive-drunkards-and-bad-journalists-but-try-we-must-just-ask-fr-ray-blake/