In a week of continuing bad news, Mother Ireland made some attempt to clean the filth from her garments. Justice was a long time in coming since the first evidence of bribery came to light in 1992. On Wednesday the press made much of Frank Dunlop’s arrival at Court for sentencing in a silver Mercedes and departing in the back of a prison van. The 18 months handed down to the former Government Press Secretary and manipulator of Dublin County Councillors was the longest sentence for corruption in the history of the State. In many ways Dunlop’s demise is a cipher for understanding the way we are. There is an endemic attraction to get around laws which are designed for the common good by tempting those whose job it is to uphold them to do wrong. The taking of short-cuts, ignoring accountability and multiplying companies and bank accounts took years to unravel and the task is ongoing. The standard approach to the courts or tribunals when called to answer for their behaviour has alternated between being forgetful and lying to avoid detection. The turning point came when a previously hidden account of Dunlop’s was unearthed, with dates and amounts matching his accusers statements, the judge him to go home and reflect on his position. The poacher turned gamekeeper and the dirty washing is still being laundered. The Bible tells us that God is well used to his laws being broken. Our fallen natures require the introduction the themes of justice for the oppressed and judgement for the guilty. Our religious system offers penance which can never atone for sin. Our legal system is modelled on the Bible in order to take into account that this is the way we are. However justice in man’s court will always be imperfect. The judge has to adjudicate on the information presented which is often skewed and incomplete. Justice in God’s court has no such limitations. St Paul writing to the Church at Rome forecast “the day when God will judge men’s secrets”. It will be a day when all will be revealed. Everything that we thought we had got away with. The things that no one knows and no one has seen. For that day we need to hire the best advocate we can get! St John, in his first letter, says we have one. It is Jesus Christ who specialises in cleaning up all those who are desperate enough to bring their dirty washing to him. My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. Put your faith in Jesus.