|Fr. Ray Blake|
Fr. Ray Blake has become the target of a less than pleasant article from a Brighton journalist by the name of Bill Gardner. Mr. Gardner has chosen to object to a recent blogpost by Fr. Blake concerning the poor, particularly the homeless, and how it is sometimes difficult and challenging to find ways to help and care for them. In an article in the Brigton Argus, Mr. Gardner has represented Father's comments as an attack on the poor, and implied arrogance and lack of charity on Father's part.
There has already been considerable comment on this from other bloggers, notably Fr. Tim, Mac, Laurence (Bones) and Leutgeb, so I am just going to reproduce Fr. Blake's response here, as he requested on his blog.
"I was saying that the poor, the really poor, turn our lives upside down. I know the local paper pays peanuts and expects its journalists to create stories in order to get onto the news networks but this is just a malicious and deliberate misrepresentation.
"It is very interesting to see what a disreputable journalist can do with a few carefully chosen adjectives. I didn't 'condemn', 'complain', 'blast' etc, and I am pretty certain that some of his other quotes are not my words, especially not, 'test my holiness', I don't speak like that, 'only God is Holy'. Though I admit in an informal moment I might question the marriage of the parents of someone who disrupts the worship of an entire congregation, especially if they consistently steal from the church or other poor people."It is interesting to see how an unscrupulous journalist can so easily put an entirely different slant on a simple theological reflection, presumably even basic Christian concepts are beyond the comprehension of some."Well, journalists are obviously as messy as the poor; except unscrupulous journalists can do more damage. Perhaps Mr Gardner might like to help on our soup run, it doesn't have to be 365 day a year, once a week would be fine, providing he treats our clients with respect, or maybe he could take Jason or Daryl or Pawel or Dawn out for a cup of coffee or a meal, or just come a clear up the next time someone comes in and vomits or bleeds all over my kitchen because he is drug or has been beaten up."Maybe next time I run out of money I could tap him for a few quid when some vulnerable 17 year old girl needs to top up her phone to speak to her mum because her boyfriend has beaten her up or she needs a roof over head because she is sleeping in a tent and it is just few degrees above zero and she is vulnerable, or maybe the next time I am arranging a child's funeral and someone comes to the door in need of someone to talk because they are suicidal I can send them round to Bill's place so he can spend a couple of hours listening to them.Here, to, I am neither complaining, blasting, lambasting or anything else, just asking."I understand Mr Gardner's little piece has been syndicated internationally, perhaps kind readers might, if possible post my response."
I know that Fr. Blake is caring and hardworking priest, in charge of quite a tough parish - Brighton has quite a big share of people with problems of one kind or another, and this can be very demanding on a PP (or, for that matter, any minister of religion). From many candid posts that he has put on his blog, it is obvious that Fr. Blake sometimes finds this hard and stressful. What is also obvious is the way in which he continues in his vocation and doesn't give up.