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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

13 July 2016: Tim Concannon, Parishioner St Laurence Catholic Church

Integrity

I have been musing on integrity. It is not a word one hears very much these days, but not long ago it was the touchstone by which we lived our lives. A funny word, integrity. It actually means being a whole human being, with no jarring discords. That means no dissembling and no acting otherwise than in accordance with our God-given good qualities. One of these is honesty and telling it like it is.

There is an apocryphal story about a famously taciturn judge. The witness in the box said “As God is my judge, I am not telling you a word of a lie.”

The judge’s response was “He’s not. I am and you are.” Indeed, it is almost a truism that the more blood curdling the oath, the greater the chance of the testimony being dodgy. In my line of work, we frequently hear “on my baby’s life” or similar trite phrases designed to make an elaborate falsehood credible. That great Englishman Shakespeare put his finger on it “Methinks the Lady doth protest too much”. The Disciples learned that lesson well, Matthew chapter 5 verse 37 says “When you say ‘yes’ it is ‘yes’ and when your say ‘no’ it is ‘no’, a concept picked up by James in the fifth chapter of his letter, “Do not swear by Heaven or Earth, or any other oath, but let your yes be yes and your no be no.”

I well remember a devout disciple refusing to take an oath on a Holy Book because he could not be sure that he would be able to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, because he did not know it.

And now, in these days of instant apologies for imagined slights, when a politician says that s/he takes full responsibility for something what does it mean? Very largely nothing I fear. Wouldn’t it be nice if it did!

Today's Faith Comment is scheduled to be written by the Chair of PACT - Tim writes it as part of his role as a Joint Convernor of PACT - see details of the other Joint Convenors at their induction earlier this year.

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