Irony of the Year
This post follows on from the "quote of the day" post scheduled to appear two minutes before this one, and which refers to Basil Hume's statement about how everyone can tell you something special about the nature of God.
A huge irony which struck me this week is that of all the response I saw to the disgrace of Basil Hume's successor as the most senior Catholic churchman in Britain, the response which most exemplified Christian forgiveness came from an outspoken atheist.
I was horrified by the news of Keith O'Brien's disgrace. The gap between what he said and what he did was wrong in itself and will undoubtedly have done great damage both to his own church and other churches, and brought unfair opprobrium on others who do not deserve it.
Matthew Parris wrote an article in the Spectator which began as follows:
"Were you to try to identify the sort of journalist least likely to feel sympathy for Keith O’Brien, I suppose you’d place near the top of your list a columnist who was (a) an atheist, (b) especially allergic to the totalitarian mumbo-jumbo of the Roman Catholic church, (c) gay, and (d) a strong supporter of the coalition government’s plans for same-sex marriage.
If so, this columnist regrets to disappoint."
You can read Matthew's article here. Whatever you think about religion, Jesus set out a principle which is worth always trying to remember, of drawing a distinction in which you hate the wrongdoing itself while trying to love and forgive the person who committed it. I don't know whether Matthew Parris had picked up the irony of this, but self-declared atheist though he may be his post exemplified the value which Jesus was trying to teach, particularly when he stopped a lynch mob from stoning to death a woman who had been caught committing adultery by telling them "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." And when nobody could throw that first stone, he said to the woman "Has nobody condemned you? Then neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more."