Sins of clergy and politi­cians get re­peated, life is a test, and chit-chat

Cape Breton Post - - COMMENT - Fred Jack­son

I have the con­so­la­tion of hav­ing added noth­ing to my pri­vate for­tune dur­ing my pub­lic ser­vice, and of re­tir­ing with hands clean as they are empty. T hose words of Thomas Jef­fer­son should be hung in the offices of all politi­cians, es­pe­cially those who are guilty of squan­der­ing tax­pay­ers’ money.

While I am not sug­gest­ing that the Catholic Church hi­er­ar­chy is re­joic­ing over the in­ap­pro­pri­ate ex­pen­di­tures by politi­cians, there is no doubt some com­fort in hav­ing the dis­sat­is­fac­tion and ex­as­per­a­tion of the peo­ple redi­rected from the re­li­gious to the sec­u­lar.

The sins of the politi­cians pale in com­par­i­son to crimes against chil­dren but nev­er­the­less are in­dica­tive of a moral void and a fail­ure of stew­ard­ship. The chal­lenge, should po­lit­i­cal leaders ac­cept it, is to trans­form the cul­ture of en­ti­tle­ment to one of ser­vice.

One would think that politi­cians and clergy across this coun­try, es­pe­cially in Nova Sco­tia, would learn from the sins of politi­cians and of clergy who went to jail in New­found­land and Labrador.

Folks, sev­eral of my teach­ers, who were mostly Chris­tian Broth­ers, along with priests, did time for phys­i­cal and sex­ual abuse. This was dis­turb­ing, and now years later an­other chap­ter is be­ing writ­ten about our clergy and our politi­cians.

It’s not my in­tent to tar­nish all clergy or all politi­cians be­cause there are many good ones in each vo­ca­tion, some I know per­son­ally. There are politi­cians who prop­erly fol­low rules and codes of ethics but the cha­rade over the last week or so by politi­cians in this prov­ince has cre­ated out­rage among the pub­lic. And rightly so.

It’s only ap­pro­pri­ate that I end with an­other Thomas Jef­fer­son quote: “A wise and fru­gal gov­ern­ment, which shall leave men free to reg­u­late their own pur­suits of in­dus­try and im­prove­ment, and shall not take from the mouth of labour the bread it has earned – this is the sum of good gov­ern­ment.” Enough said! This week I at­tended a mass and cel­e­bra­tion for Bishop Brian Dunn at St. An­thony Daniel Church. Last month, Dunn of­fi­cially took over the Dio­cese of Antigonish, re­plac­ing disgraced bishop Ray­mond La­hey, who faces charges of pos­sess­ing and im­port­ing child pornog­ra­phy.

When I heard Dunn’s in­spir­ing homily that touched on God’s dwelling place, I re­flected on some of my late mother’s philoso­phies of life. She be­lieved that life is a jour­ney and a test. She said there will be bumps on that road and there will be ups and downs, but more ups than downs.

Al­though we will pass many of those ex­am­i­na­tions, there will be fail­ures. And when we fail, there’s also good news: God al­lows us to take the test again.

Some will take the test many times, but the test must be passed.

And there’s no ques­tion that faith is be­ing tested in our ev­er­chang­ing world, no mat­ter what re­li­gion one prac­tices.

Re­mem­ber, test­ing of your faith de­vel­ops per­se­ver­ance, and when this hap­pens your en­durance has a chance to grow. Ac­cord­ing to James 1:3, “ The test­ing of your faith pro­duces pa­tience.”

I of­ten heard my mother say pa­tience is a virtue be­cause it makes us bet­ter peo­ple.

Af­ter lis­ten­ing to Dunn and hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion with him dur­ing the re­cep­tion, I have the con­fi­dence that this good shep­herd will lead the flock. It was nice to see about a dozen priests from the Syd­ney area take part in the cel­e­bra­tion, a sure sign of unity. This is a great start and it would be nice to see greater unity.

Lead­er­ship, trans­parency, in­spi­ra­tion and sense of com­mu­nity are the key in­gre­di­ents. Construction of a gym is ex­pected to start in April on the for­mer Ron May prop­erty on Prince Street. Ge­orge Sif­nakis and his wife Shauna plan to con­struct a mod­ern gym and health club. And look for more construction in the Prince Street area. Big plans are in the works for the Syd­ney Shop­ping Cen­tre to be re­fur­bished, and the lo­ca­tion will also house box store out­lets.

Nicole Latham, who has fam­ily in Cape Bre­ton, is part of med­i­cal team at the Van­cou­ver Olympics. Latham, who did her prac­ti­cal train­ing and was em­ployed at the Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Hospi­tal in 2004 and 2005, is liv­ing and work­ing in Cal­gary. For­mer Cape Bre­ton res­i­dents Ken and Su­san Latham are her par­ents, and her grand­par­ents are Claude Hunt­ley and Cal and Mar­ion Latham of Syd­ney.

Have a good week­end, Char­lotte MacLean. Con­fess you were wrong yes­ter­day; it will show you are wise to­day. Ev­ery man’s life is a fairy tale writ­ten by God’s fin­ger.

– Hans Chris­tian Andersen

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