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The Word on the Week

Trial by Telly 18th November

We have been conditioned by the media, helped perhaps by more than a little personal bias, to take the word of a Prime Time Investigator over against the word of a Priest. Our prejudice was helped by Fr Kevin Reynolds laughing dismissal, made to the RTE Investigative reporter Aine Kavanagh, of the charge of the rape of a Kenyan woman during his time serving in Africa. The image, caught by the camera, evoked strong memories of the hideous display of callous disregard for his victims by Fr Brendan Smith who was involved in paedophilia some years ago. This case could not have been more different.  Not only was there not a scintilla of truth in the allegation but RTE showed disrespect for Fr Reynolds by ignoring his request for a paternity test until repeated request from his solicitor could no longer be ignored. However by this time the programme had been broadcast, Fr Reynolds, now disgraced, had been stood down and Kavanagh, in what seems to be an attempt at bluff, wrote to him saying she had a “creditable third-party source” who could testify that he was the father of Sheila and had contributed to her education. To date no third-party source has been produced although some of RTE’s “big guns” have attempted to defend their colleague’s reputation. The fulsome apology, ordered by the court, and both broadcast and printed in the press this week, may go some way to mitigate the damage to Fr Reynolds reputation. The damages awarded to the Plaintiff, will be of little consolation to him although it may encourage RTE to be more ethical. The writer of Proverbs states, “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold”. So if you have the choice between wealth or a good name – choose a good name. An early Christian hymn about Jesus contains the lines: – “He humbled himself  and became obedient to death—  even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place  and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,  in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,  to the glory of God the Father. Jesus’s name is not simply referring to his reputation but much more. He has all authority in heaven and earth, in his name repentant people are healed, forgiven and transformed enabling even those at present opposed to him to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.