The country is going through its own Passion at this time. Many say like Jesus: “My soul is sorrowful unto death.” The government is losing the war on crime and its attempts to stimulate the economy have been unsatisfactory.
On the domestic scene, the Chairman of the Children’s Authority says he weeps on reading some of the thousands of reports on abuse of children. An entire community, Sobo Village, is grieving over the loss of four of its members who met a most gruesome end.
When we look at the IRO it too is embroiled in its own internal morass. When religious leaders should be of one mind and heart at this time the house stands divided against itself.
The social fabric of the nation has been ripped open further by the imbroglio with the judiciary. There is a profound irony here. Judicial officers and attorneys have been working together for many years to enshrine conflict resolution by mediation as part of the legal process available to disputants. Judges insist that parties must have tried mediation before a case is brought before the courts. Yet at the judicial and legal helm we see the failure of the very principle they are trying to enforce.
It was a golden opportunity to settle things peacefully but now the matter has morphed further involving the Prime Minister and the former President. We feel as if a “darkness came over the land until the ninth hour”.
In the midst of such darkness we cling tenaciously to hope. Hope is not found in the big places, among the bright lights. Hope inhabits the dark and in that darkness are found little people doing great things –— ministering to children with disabilities, developing local rural economies, shunning the bribes and kickbacks, creating beautiful music and art, people working for people and not for titles.
It is found in a lonesome man from a poor village, abandoned by his friends, carrying a cross with the hope that there is something beyond that haunted hill strewn with skulls because his God told him so. His God told him people matter.
One way to move beyond our social and political inertia is to believe that people matter. But the culture tells us instead, mired as it is in materialism, that ‘things’ matter— money, power, prestige, titles, exemptions.
It is not easy to put people before things. Even parishes struggle to keep people first, burdened as they are by administrative demands, insufficient volunteers and structures in need of repair and upgrade. This is why the parish discussion asked for by Archbishop Gordon is so important.
The five topics—Parish, Family Life, Clergy and Vocations, Leadership in Church and Society, and Catholic Education—and their corresponding statements (Catholic News, February 25) all reflect people’s concerns.
They have the potential—even if we end up after collective discussion with just one or two pastoral priorities—to keep us on the right track for the next five to ten years. If we are faithful to the process and stay the course we will undoubtedly have contributed to keeping the national ship sailing in the right direction.