...which has made our scruffy road look delightful, and brought out all sorts of friendliness in streets and shops as people cope and struggle and help one another...and despite the fact that I have lots of good things ahead in 2010, and am blessed in my family and friends, it is difficult not to share the sense of quiet sadness that pervades things at present. The tragic collapse of social and community values over the past decade - following on inevitably from policies pursued by successive rulers and bureaucrats - now makes itself felt all the time in crime, family break-up, and the sordid drunken antics of the young in city and suburb every weekend.
As the Govt pushes forward its crunch on church schools - with, alas, the connivance of the Catholic education bureaucracy which instead of defending the schools is dotty about trying to make sure that they are not "elitist" - the plans for the horrible Equality Bill also roll relentlessly forward. There is a general recognition that, as at present formulated, it is designed to make things difficult for the Church by seeking to outlaw a male-only priesthood and the open teaching of Christian morals especially on homosexual activity. So now it's a question of whether or not the Church will be able to draw things out, talking to lawyers and so on, and find some way forward...with the Govt concentrating on ensuring speed so that the things becomes law before a May election.
At the weekend, J. spent some time sorting through papers. Among them, acquired a couple of summers ago on a trip to Runnymede, was a copy of Magna Carta, with its affirmation of the rights of the Church in our country.
And all the while, the bodies of our soldiers are brought back from Afghanistan, often accompanied by heart-breaking stories of courage and self-sacrifice...