God on our side?
There is a kind of religious adherence that leads people to take on the self-appointed role of judge. It claims to be God’s spokesperson and to mete out God’s judgement and punishment. It condemns sinners and relegates them to the outside of the community. And it claims that God is on their side. We would all be aware of the sad situations where life-long family break-ups occur as family members’ choices, lifestyles and actions are judged by those claiming to speak for God. Communities have been torn apart because of this. People have been ostracized and have lived lonely lives cut off from those who have judged them harshly.
You may know that wonderful TV series, set in the early 1960s, Brides of Christ. Set in a school, it tells the story of a few young women who entered the convent at that time, and it portrays many of the attitudes and practices of the day as well as the confusion and inner turmoil for some as the changes made by The Second Vatican Council began to be implemented. There is an unforgettable scene where the divorced mother of one of the girls turns up at a sewing bee in response to a request for help in making the costumes for a play the girls were putting on. As she walks into the hall the whole room falls silent as all the other mothers, the ‘godly’ and ‘righteous’ women, turn and stare coldly at her as she makes her way to the front. And the most ‘godly’ of them all steps forward and says to this mother that her help is not needed. A cutting and cruel judgement on her ‘less than perfect’ life.
Ms Kerry McCullough
Spirituality and Liturgy Coordinator