Monday, 5 April 2010

Happy Easter

Saturday dawned and I looked forward to a quiet day before the Easter Vigil in the evening. Turned on the Today programme and heard their first headline: 'The Archbishop of Canterbury has said the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland has "lost all credibility" over the way it dealt with paedophile priests.' 'Hmm!' I thought. 'That doesn't sound much like the Rowan Williams I know and respect. I can't see him undermining a sister church like that.' Of course it was based on one sentence taken out of context in a programme to be broadcast two days later on Radio 4. A misquoted sentence what's more. The Archbishop is very careful with his choice of words. He is both a poet and a Christian of immense charitableness. 

The headline and news item gave the impression that he thought the Irish Church had lost all credibility. I decided I'd listen to the programme this morning. Meanwhile I wondered who decided this would lead the news the day before Easter when the broadcast would be not be till Monday, and I remembered the Ray Gosling incident which didn't become news until after that broadcast. I know I mustn't get paranoid, and at least the BBC continues the custom of playing one verse of 'When I survey the wondrous cross' at 7 am on Good Friday. But still....

By Easter morning the BBC was still running the story with different wording: the Church was 'losing all credibility', but the story now was the indignant reaction of Catholic bishops. Of course he'd been quick to apologise to the Irish Archbishop Martin for the offence his words had caused. Actually, he wasn't saying he thought the Catholic Church was totally discredited in his opinion. He was describing the way it felt in public perception. Funnily enough in the programme itself today, 'Start the Week' with Andrew Marr, he appeared with two atheists, Philip Pullman and David Baddiel, and Professor Mona Siddiqi, the Muslim scholar - and he was full of graciousness. Condemning others was far from his spirit and far from the spirit of all his comments, including what he said about Ireland. I couldn't help thinking how remote was the possibility of the BBC apologising for misquoting and, more importantly, misrepresenting him. If not mischievous, it was careless.

Saturday afternoon: The boat race - Cambridge, the underdogs, won!!! 

In our light blue car that evening, Jane and I drove into Oxford at 8 and parked next to the University Athletics Ground. It was raining; so we sat in the car until Stephen and Luke Lehmann, the rising young hairstylist from London (, arrived and we made our way to the fire outside Greyfriars for the lighting of the Paschal candle. When the procession went up the steps into the church, Jane pushed me round the side way into the darkened church.

It was an emotional service, both the celebration of Jesus' resurrection with light bursting into the darkness and the renewal of baptism vows, and our son being welcomed into his new church. Afterwards, wine and warm cross buns and friendly talk in the refectory. What a great start to Easter! And so home by midnight. 
Christ is risen. Alleluia, alleluia!
He is risen indeed. Alleluia, alleluia!

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