Daily Prayers

Prayer is Love, I want to Love

I, Daniel Blake

If someone were to ask who rules the United Kingdom, would you answer “The Queen, the Government, the Parliaments, the Civil Service”? That’s a good answer, recognising the various authorities. The question that follows is harder “Who has the power?” Of the Church we ask “Who rules?” – Pope, Vatican, Bishops. Who has the power? Would you flounder?

Disregard and distrust for any authority leads to chaos. The American riots on Capitol Hill a few months ago, the streets of protestors in some parts of our worlds, the gulags, education and concentration camps, dictatorships in too many countries –show distrust of imposed fraudulent governments and systems.

Is there any government or Church or Faith, that we may fully trust? No. All need to be watched and guarded against, to be trusted only when they earn that trust. Claims of having the people’s support are empty. What democracy do you know has the support of even 50% of the people? It is usual for a large percentage of populations not even to vote – so no support there: the vast majority of democratic voters seem to vote for the same party every election and don’t even need to know the names of the donkeys, saints, idealists, careerists, for whom they are voting (name your local MP, your local councillors and their policies, the police commissioner).

Name the Catholic bishops of the United Kingdom, the many officials in the Nottingham diocese, the names of the deacons and priests in Leicester . . . and then in the Church of England, etc.

“I, Daniel Blake” is a fine film directed by Danny Boyle. Do see it. It tells the story of helpless people who become numbers, not persons, in the benefits and credits systems of the UK. It portrays helpless and bewildered people designed and manipulated by bureaucratic and seemingly uncaring officials. We understand the duty to be careful with public money, we know that fraudsters and scammers are always looking for opportunities – but Danny Boyle’s film pleads for our recognising the individual unemployed, the single parent deserted by uncaring partner, the many who need someone to listen to them beyond placing them in a queue and asking them to fill in forms they do not understand, to use computers that only bewilder them in the public libraries where they go for help.

Daniel Blake understands the helplessness and he shares and suffers it, fighting official indifference, asserting the dignity of the individual woman and man – and stands in front of the benefits office to spray on its walls “I, Daniel Blake” as a rebellion against being judged as a number and a nuisance and not as a person.

Officials in Government, Church, Faiths, at every level, are ordinary women and men and what they do is only as good as the people they are: pleasant, able and willing to listen, to see and understand, to serve – or self-seeking, ambitious, jealous of status, lazy, uncaring, deaf except to favourites and flatterers. Citizens and religious faithful, how good is the authority over us?

Does anyone know someone who would satisfy everyone? No one.

God bless us ones,

Fr John

(28th April 2021)