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The Word on the Week

Low Standards in High Office.

As a bit of comic relief this week we had the pot calling the kettle black on our national talk show called “Primetime”. The participants were Independent TD Mick Wallace who was fighting for justice and Minister for Justice Alan Shatter who found himself in the dock!

The subject was the apparent writing off of penalty points by the Garda who had allocated them in the first place. However as the people who had incurred these points never knew they had committed an offence they were unaware that they had been in receipt of Garda favours.

It was a somewhat Gilbertian situation but provided some light relief from the rather turgid public debate on the abortion Bill.

Mick, whose own recent history has not been without blemish, was in fighting form. How could the Garda act in such an irresponsible way?

Alan, who is not the most popular man in town at the moment, took as much of this as he could stand then yielded to the temptation to reveal that Mick had himself narrowly escaped penalty points when a Garda recently warned him about using his mobile phone while driving.

Mick was seized by a bout of amnesia and could not remember a thing about it. However he did realise that the information which Alan had imparted on the national airwaves was an improper use of confidential material by the Minister of Justice who now found himself in luke-warm if not hot water!

Alan, while declining to reveal how he obtained the information, said it was a matter of public importance which viewers ought to be told.

Mick, sensing something of victory, said he would make a complaint to the Standards in Public Office Commission calling for an investigation into any possible breach of data protection legislation.

In attempting to reveal the sins of another the Minister inadvertently revealed his own sins. This aptly illustrates the Biblical text, “There is no one righteous, not even one” (Romans Chapter 3 verse 10). However before we get too self-righteous just realise that you and me are included in the text!

In anticipation of our needs the Lord has included in the same chapter how we can obtain a righteousness which is not dependent on our behaviour. This new thing (part of what was accomplished at the cross) clothes us in the righteousness of Christ – perfection in the eyes of God – rendering redundant our puny attempts to be righteous by our own efforts (verses 21/22).

Edward Mote captured its essence in his great gospel hymn which commences with

“My hope is built in nothing less

Than Jesus blood and righteousness” and concludes with

“When the last trumpet’s voice shall sound,

O may I then in Him be found,

Clothed in His righteousness alone,

Faultless to stand before His throne.”

This all comes by the sheer grace of God to the repentant one who believes in Christ alone.