“If you are renewed by grace, and were to meet your old self,
I am sure you would be very anxious to get out of his company.”
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
(Scrooge and the Spirit of Christmas Past / A Christmas Carol / 1951)
I recently caught a news story this past week coming out of the Vatican,
and thankfully this story had nothing to do with the wording or
re-wording of the Lords’ Prayer.
Pope Francis is criticizing journalists who dredge up old scandals and sensationalize the news, saying it’s a “very serious sin” that hurts all involved.
Francis, who plans to dedicate his upcoming annual communications message to “fake news,” told Catholic media on Saturday that journalists perform a mission that is among the most “fundamental” to democratic societies.
But he reminded them to provide precise, complete and correct information and not to provide one-sided reports.
The pope said: “You shouldn’t fall into the ‘sins of communication:’ disinformation, or giving just one side, calumny that is sensationalized, or defamation, looking for things that are old news and have been dealt with and bringing them to light today.”
He called those actions a “grave sin that hurts the heart of the journalist and hurts others.”
ABC News (ironically enough)
The News media does seem to really enjoy the digging up of the past, particularly if
said past was a sensational sort of past—
heinous, gruesome, odious, or simply grievous.
Never mind that whatever it was has been dealt with and is now left in
the past… as those involved have either healed and or moved on—
The Media must be bored or simply enjoys opening old wounds.
They can’t seem to move on….let alone, dare it be said, forgive and then forget.
Watching one of the most recent episodes of Anglican unscripted,
Bishop Gavin Ashenden was addressing the latest befuddlement plaguing the
Church of England.
It seems that the current powers that be, i.e. the Archbishop of Canturbury,
Justin Welby, has been racing to cast judgement on one of their own, now long dead
yet greatly esteemed, clergy members, The Rt Rev George Bell (1883-1958),
former Archbishop of Canterbury.
The story is playing out that a now elderly woman, who doesn’t exactly have all her ‘remembrances’ in order or even in the right places or buildings, etc seems to
recollect that perhaps a member of the clergy had molested her when she was a
young girl and maybe it was Archbishop George Bell.
Well rather than sorting through the facts and accusations and remembrances….
or questioning the very murky recollections of a now very elderly woman, the current Archbishop and others have raced to cast judgement on this long deceased but highly esteemed clergyman.
And Bishop Ashenden, for one, is crying foul.
Bishop Ashenden, who does have a background and degree in Law, points out that
much of the logic here is all wrong. The handling of all of this by the Church has
been all wrong. And the reaction by the current sitting Archbishop is all wrong.
There is not nor has there been any corroboration to this woman’s story as others who,
now equally as elderly, in the same care of the Archbishop at the time—
as it was during the War and many displaced and refugee children had been taken in by
the Church with Archbishop Bell acting as overseer, do not ever recall any such
instances let alone remember this woman.
So Bishop Ashenden is publicly demanding that Archbishop Welby apologize for racing to
damning the dead while exploiting the troubled “remembrances” of an elderly woman.
The good Bishop notes that as Christians, repentance is such an integral part
of our faith.
“It is what sets us apart form all other religions other than perhaps Judaism.”
Yet to be able to acknowledge a wrong seems to be one of the most difficult things
for human beings to own up to. Just as it is equally difficult to utter
those three little words— “I am sorry.”
But what is “genius” about our faith, the good Bishop extols, is indeed that very fact
of repentance and forgiveness—as that is the very reason Jesus came into the world…
That we should repent and forgive, just as our Father in Heaven forgives us.
Yet how hard it is for us to ever admit that we have erred, that we have made a mistake,
that we were wrong and are heartily sorry…and so in turn, please forgive me.
So where the current Archbishop has not afforded a fair critique of this matter but
rather has raced to the shut and closed condemnation, before even having sorted
fact from fiction,
is incredulous as he now owes everyone on every side of this story,
Yet that very act, that very Christian of acts, appears to be far from the
ability of this very prominent vicar of Christ…
If an Archbishop can’t say that he is sorry or that he has perhaps over reacted or not thought something thoroughly through, how on earth can he ever ask the same,
that notion of repentance and forgiveness, from others….
Anglican Unscripted – commentary on Welby’s intransigence on +George Bell – and Dame Sarah Mullally, ‘bishop-to-be’ of London.
And as I had just finished watching the video segment about this story on Anglican Unscripted, I went on to find the following observations by St John Kilmakos—
a commentary of points on that very thing…the remembrance of wrongs and
the ultimate in forgiveness.
2. Remembrance of wrongs is the consummation of anger, the keeper of sins, hatred of righteousness, ruin of virtues, poison of the soul, worm of the mind, shame of prayer, stopping of supplication, estrangement of love, a nail stuck in the soul, pleasureless feeling beloved in the sweetness of bitterness, continuous sin, unsleeping transgression, hourly malice.
3. This dark and hateful passion, I mean remembrance of wrongs, is one of those that are produced but have no offspring. That is why we do not intend to say much about it.
4. He who has put a stop to anger has also destroyed remembrance of wrongs; because childbirth continues only while the father is alive.
5. He who has obtained love has banished revenge; but he who nurses enmities stores up for himself endless sufferings.
6. A banquet of love dispels hatred, and sincere gifts soothe a soul.
But an ill-regulated banquet is the mother of boldness, and through the window of love gluttony leaps in.
—St. John Klimakos
The Ladder of Divine Ascent.
And so it is….we find in our repentance and sincere sense of regret and sorrow
for our misdeeds coupled by our forgiveness—
forgiveness from God which in turn produces forgiveness from one another
as well as from ourselves….and it is here where true Love is really to be found.
That Jesus Christ was born to save us from our constant state of wrongdoing…
otherwise known as sin.
And as we are forgiven, we in turn are to forgive—
and as is with the Father…He forgives and He forgets…..
I thank him who has given me strength,
Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful,
appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor,
and insolent opponent.
But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief,
and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance,
that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,
of whom I am the foremost.
But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost,
Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who
were to believe in him for eternal life.
1 Timothy 1:12-16