There are perks that come with the job.
Sometimes it’s free tea. Sometimes it’s great company. Best if those two go together. But there are some perks that come when least expected.
Today I phoned Highgrove Shop in Tetbury as part of my job.
I found myself talking about where I used to live in London Fields (on the border of Hackney and Islington), Bradford on Avon and Bath. (The English Market in Cork featured as well.) In conversation about those places. Imagine someone paying me to converse about those places that are loaded with wonderful memories for me…
And, while I was on the phone, I realised that I’m going to go into that shop next week, as part of my job.
I call that a fabulous perk.
Bishop John Magee has been criticised by everyone, except those bishops who spoke up for him and said he was the best man to lead his flock.
He hasn’t been able to defend himself or stand up for what he’s done.
I’d like to speak up for him - from the point of view of a charitable on-looker.
Bishop Magee couldn’t help it. He was brought up to believe that the Catholic Church was not just important, but led by the vicar of Christ. He was inculcated into the belief that the Catholic Church was "the Way, the Truth and the Light". He was taken at a young age and moulded. He is the product of that culture. He ‘knew’ it was his job to prevent the Church being tainted by scandal. Is it any wonder he was inclined to cover things up and, like almost all the other Irish bishops, still wants to hide the scandal? He’s doing his duty.
Bishop John Magee may be brain dead for all you know. His brain may have ceased to engage and he may be living in his own world, at peace with his Maker, a soldier of Christ to the last. For all we know he may be incapable of doing any more than reading out statements from the altar, and carrying on regardless. He’s probably in another world, looking forward to the next life. It’s valid to criticise someone who’s capable of better, but it’s vindictive to attack someone who can’t help himself. People should get off his back. I’m sure he will continue to do his best: people should accept that what he’s done and what he’s doing now is his best shot at reconciling the demands of the Almighty and the demands of the human.
Bishop Magee will not be redeemed by the shouts and marches of an angry throng. He will not be moved. He is committed to a path which he believes is his best way to redemption as shepherd of his sheep. Sheep need to follow their leader. The good people of Cloyne deserve time to appreciate that their bishop was anointed the leader. What good is a flock of headless chickens? At least in Bishop Magee we have a leader who hasn’t been afraid to stand out as an exemplar of his type. You may not agree with him but he is the only leader of that diocese and God’s ways are mysterious. Leave the bishop alone.
Bishop Magee knows he’s right. He’s set in that way. He’s a shining example, and, if you overthrow him and cause the Pope to appoint another in his place, no bishop will be safe and we’ll end up going down the slippery slope to democratic elections within the Catholic Church. I’m sure Bishop Magee would feel justified in calling that the way of the devil.
Cut John Magee some slack. After all, all those children who were buggered and groped were temptation for sinners, and who among you hasn’t sinned? After all, didn’t John deny Jesus three times?
Now, how do you feel about John, the Bishop Of Cloyne?