Manchester Horror – May 2017

So many voices, so many words. The best words have been spoken by those who have suffered and those who have helped alleviate their suffering. They are inspiring. The “grandstanding” speakers spoke strongly but spoke duty words for effect; the suffering and the nursing spoke from the heart and drew us into the truth of the human cost of the bombing.

I wearied at the repeated condemnation of “barbaric, inhuman, evil, monsters” (we can all shout like that), but I surrendered to the love and care of the suffering, to the relatives and to our emergency and nursing services.

We could marvel at the organisation of the ambulances for eight different hospitals, as the chief officer explained how they shared the burden of care around the hospitals, carefully choosing which patients should go where. I was touched by the loyalty and trust of the doctors and nurses who came into hospital to help their colleagues already on duty, lovingly supporting one another.

I heard the courage and love of an uncle desperately going the round of city centre and hospitals, showing a photograph of his niece and asking anyone and everyone if they had seen her.

We heard the love and despair of those who had lost their loved ones. To have the courage to speak to us out of their grief, to hear their appreciation of wonderful nursing and ambulance staff; to hear the staff speak lovingly of those they were looking after – men and women at their best. We praise and thank them.

We know enough about human nature to know that anywhere in our country would respond to an atrocity in the same way – kind, generous loving people are everywhere – so we felt with the suffering that they were the ones chosen at random by depraved fanatics; but a further sadness was to understand that the depraved would be enjoying the grief and suffering, gloating at the “official” words of those who had not suffered and the suffering words of those who had. Dear God, who are we?

Fr John
(28th May 2017)

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