Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Good, Bad, and Just Plain Ugly

Priest robbed at shrine

This story appeared in the MetroWest Daily News. It's hard for me to feel much more than a visceral reaction of disgust for people who would a) rob a priest; b) rob a 76-year-old priest; c) steal money earmarked for good. Who are these people, and how is it possible that they have not a shred of decency?

I'm tempted to mentally write off these people, whom I don't even know, as pigs. It's like another nail in the coffin for particpating in the community at large, and encouragement to develop an insular existence surrounded be people you know, people who are 'good.'

But hope is fortunately provided by the priest, who surmises that if the thieves were people who needed help, "the shrine could have found a way to assist them."

Hm...it's something to think about. What, exactly, would drive those people to rob someone - and a priest, at that? There's a chance that they're just inherently bad. But maybe their lives and thoughts have been shaped by circumstances beyond their control, and their formation has blinded them to the unabashed ickiness of what they've just done. Maybe meeting that priest earlier in life, under different circumstances, could have radically altered life for any one of the thieves. Maybe they still can get the help that the priest thought they could use.

It's people like this priest who keep my pessimism in check.

1 comment:

This Liberal said...

Please welcome my wife, "The Other Liberal" to This Liberal Blog. It's her first post!

I was discussing this with Mrs. Liberal last night, and we recalled a theme from Samuel Beckett's plays where the true character of an indivudual is revealed by challenging circumstances. Sometimes virtuous behavior is merely a matter of convenience. A person may not be good, they may just not be challenged. It is harder for some to be virtuous than others.

Would this have happened fifty years ago? I dunno. In Les Miserables, the main character steals the table silver from a priest. The thief was very poor, though. The folks from this real-life robbery at least had a van.

"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings." Jer. 17:9-10