In all our sanctuaries we sit at risk

Three propositions to get us off the ground


Thank you for visiting. This is my first post.

To celebrate,  I shall set out three propositions which for me are seminal. The fact that all three refer to priests requires me to say that I myself am not religious. The fact is interesting, nevertheless. As a combination, the three act as a kind of base to operate from.  The first is a direct quote, the other two indirect quotes, the third a poem.

Proposition One

“[Those who work alongside the vulnerable] are a group of people who are being called upon to live dangerously at many of the pressure points in our present confused, confusing and increasingly divided society. As such you are the objects of, and therefore presumably in your own persons and reflections the subjects of, a great deal of confusion, anxiety and uncertainty. Your position is highly ambivalent and ambiguous and therefore both actually painful now and potentially promising with regard to the future of our society and, indeed, of human beings on this earth.”

David Jenkins, ex-Bishop of Durham, speaking in 1988

Proposition Two

I think it was Cardinal Basil Hume who, soon after the fall of the Soviet Communist system, rebuked the triumphalism wafting from a certain magnificently coiffeured Grantham groceress – as she delighted unashamedly in the belief “we won”. The Cardinal said that it was not a matter of one system winning, the other losing. Both systems had failed to befriend and defend humanity and also to husband the environment upon which all lives depend.  Both were accordingly unworthy of surviving and bound to collapse. It was just that one had collapsed a bit earlier than the other.


Proposition Three

Donald Reeves of St James’ Piccadilly

From the pulpit of St James’ Piccadilly
he harried old images back to life ;
families drove for miles from the suburbs
to place themselves in his communion.

Why blame God
for things that go wrong for us ?
he asked one Christmas.
See it the other way round –
day and night
God is hanging from wrought nails
for our sakes.
When we succeed at last
in destroying Creation
we shall relieve God of His suffering.

And Reeves called on us that Christmas  –
don’t look to the main squares
the established landmarks
the rush of functionaries under the lights.

The hope of the world
wanders fugitive and fragile
in shadow
somewhere off.

Go there.
Give to it
all that is true in you.

Rogan Wolf