It is easier, Jesus said, for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God could be updated and how hard, we respond, for the Religious to show humility to the Laity. The rich? They have got it made. Their security is in their riches. The Religious? They have an “in” with God. Their security is in the establishment. As events unfolded of negligence in handling child abuse cases in the Diocese of Cloyne the hierarchical ranks closed this week with the oft repeated statement that lessons have been learned and the sense of denial was palpable. The sight of a lone Priest doing his walk of atonement from Cork to Dublin spoke volumes of the solitary walk of those who would like to speak out but are trapped within the system. I wrote the undernoted Blog in Nov.05 following the publication of the Report on Child Abuse in the Ferns Dioceses catalogued something of the horror many young people experienced at the hands of those they trusted. The broken lives of the victims and the unbearable guilt of the perpetrators when added to the anger and shame of their extended families constitute a colossal cry of pain. The veil of secrecy that has clouded these most clandestine of sins turns the perpetuators into addicts and the victims, although innocent, paralysed by guilt. Jesus is quoted in all three synoptic Gospels as recommending drowning with a millstone tied to the neck of these evil people. This seems to spellout a drastic remedy to rid society of such persons. Do millstones become tombstones? What else does the Bible teach? The Good News of the Gospel is that Christ died for sinners – not the righteous! St Paul couldn’t have put it any more plainly when he wrote that “God justifies the wicked” Romans ch. 4 verse 5. But how? When they repent is the answer. What does repentance look like for the child sexual abuser? The same as for any other sinner – a separation from the sin. This required boundaries to be put in place. Jesus said if your hand offends you cut it off. Clearly a change of behaviour and a change of career are required to remove the sinner from the temptation. It’s interesting that after the financial cheat Matthew was converted Jesus did not make him the treasurer! However forgiveness does not come through our repentance – 100 lifetimes wouldn’t be long enough. Its not penance, which is man’s attempt to balance the books, that the Bible has in view. It’s seeing God place your sins on Christ and He willingly bearing them. Christ’s blood then cleansing the repentant sinner and presenting him faultless before God – a forgiven person. Oh the inexpressible joy of the Good News! In the final analysis the sinners boast is not that he has renounced sin but that Christ has saved him from its consequences. There is a way back to God From the dark paths of sin, There is a door that is open And you may go in; At cavalry’s cross is where you begin When you come as a sinner to Jesus.