KEITH O'BRIEN IS DEAD!
WHAT SHOULD BE OUR REACTION TO THIS NEWS?
Well, first of all, we should be sorry to hear the news. The death of any human being, whatever they did in life, is a sad event.
After that, we who are Christians think of the fact that he has gone before The Lord and has been judged in the way God does to perfection - with a mixture of MERCY and JUSTICE.
Keith will have either helped or harmed himself in that respect with the amount of true sorrow he had for any wrong he ever did.
He will also be helped or harmed before The Lord with the amount of effort he made to put his wrongs right and seek the forgiveness of those he hurt.
But all that is done now and The Lord has "rewarded" him for the things he did in the body, both good and bad.
Personally, I think it would be inappropriate to give Keith O'Brien a triumphalist funeral of any kind.
We Catholics believe that a funeral is NOT a memorial service - but rather an occasion where the Church prays for God's mercy on the sinner who has died.
We are ALL sinners and in life, Keith showed that he belonged to the Body of Sinners.
I think it would be appropriate for Keith O'Brien to have a simple funeral during which is emphasized the need for God's mercy and forgiveness.
It may be appropriate for his successor in Edinburgh to celebrate this funeral - but it might also be very nice that a humble parish priest of Edinburgh led the funeral?
I do not think it should be an occasion for the gathering of dozens of men in mitres, papal knight in green and gold, international dignitaries or boy's choirs.
Of course, those at the highest echelons of the Church will be gathered today to discuss how the funeral can be held in such a way as to not to embarrass the institutional Church and it's mafiosa.
I think that in planning the funeral Keith O'Brien's the thoughts, feelings and wishes of his victims should have a paramount place.
We know that Keith sexually abused a number of seminarians and priests - even in the Confessional.
We do not really know if all his victims have come forward and if those who have managed to tell their whole story.
Some of them may have already been given sufficient grace to have forgiven Keith?
Others may still be struggling with senses of anger and hurt and not having been truly listened to?
Those organising the funeral should think very strongly of the victims.
In fact, it would be wonderful if someone in the Scottish Church consulted the victims with regard to the funeral.
THE FAMILY AND FRIENDS:
I imagine that Keith O'Brien has family members living and has retained friends - and maybe even made new friends since his "downfall"?
We need to take the feelings of these people into account also.
They loved him, warts and all, and to be still loved when we disgrace ourselves if often one thing that keeps us going in low moments and moments of disgrace.
The Catholic Church internationally and locally must learn some important lessons from the Keith O'Brien situation.
This Blog has a great variety of readers.
I would be very interested to hear the thoughts of these readers on the life and death of Keith O'Brien.