Saturday, 13 August 2011

Blessed Pope John Paul's RAIN!

The bust and dedication of our Pope John Paul II Room

Some of the water ingress above the Holy Father where it rained down on him!

More of the mess made by the rain

I discovered last week that thieves had been up on the Church roof and stolen the lead . The damage can't be seen from below so the first notice I had was when water started pouring in through the ceiling of the Pope John Paul II Room - our meeting room at the back of the church - only recently re-decorated and re-dedicated at the beatification of the late Holy Father. Temporary repairs have been effected but the damage done to the suspended ceiling (and the resultant unpleasant damp smell) awaits the insurance claim. I could almost have wished the thieves had had the decency to leave a note to say what they had done - at least the water damage could have been forestalled!

I had another incident three months ago when a teenager had climbed over the fence from the park next door and deliberately pushed over a stone statue of St Veronica in my back garden. Eventually the culprit was apprehended and some weeks later marched round to make an apology to me but the police were against pressing any charges. Then, a couple of weeks ago a neighbour's house was vandalised and when the police found the culprit, it turned out to be a teenage girl. My neighbour wanted to press charges but the police were against it on the grounds that it would give her a criminal record - so she got off with an apology.

It stuck me that this sort of supposedly "low-level" crime is perhaps linked to the terrible scenes of rioting we have seen in our streets over the last week here in England. Really, in those local cases I've just cited, the offenders "got away with it". The serious consequences that could have ensued did not come to pass. Does this teach them that when they think no-one can catch or punish them, then anything goes? The riots are just the same attitude writ large. In a mob, who will know which individuals to punish? That's why the measures to pursue and prosecute the rioters are, to my way of thinking, very important. But perhaps a policy leaning more towards zero tolerance of low level crime could be part of the solution to teaching people that you can't simply do whatever you want and get away with it. It is the same selfishness on a large scale. The difficulty is that people are now calling for a moral framework but we have dismatled our Christian society and I'm not sure it's possible to build a moral framework on non-existent foundations. Surely, you don't have to be a fully paid-up Christian to recognise that the moral framework provided by the Faith and built on its firm foundations could be a good thing for the wider society to subscribe to. This is what calling our country (and the Western world itself) a "Christian" culture once meant, even after most had abandoned the regular practice of going to Church, when even the un-churched subscribed to some boundaries - like not pinching from the Church or mugging helpless individuals!

Anyway, to get back to practicalities, as I explained to parishioners at the weekend, although the insurance will cover it, the diocesan insurance has a £300 excess, which for our little parish is virtually a whole week's collection money. Given that we had another insurance claim last month to repair drains where tree roots had damaged the sewer pipes, that's two weeks collection "down the drain".

So the joys of organising our annual Parish Fete (this coming Saturday 20th August at 1pm for anyone in the area!) have taken on added significance this year, although a large chunk of the income will now already have been spent.

1 comment:

David K said...

I think we should forgive them. 'Zero tolerance' could only be part of a faith that transgresses God's right to judge.