I buy a newspaper everyday but in recent months I have hardly read the news. Once I’ve glanced at the headlines, the obituaries, the tv and most importantly tackled the crossword, the paper is discarded and I move on to other things. I justify my actions by saying I’ve had enough of news which is either depressing, of no interest or irrelevant. When Covid was at its height people told me how they no longer watched the news. I sympathise completely.
However, deep down I know, like everyone else, I have an obligation to keep myself informed, to know what the important issues are, to be able to discuss them in the light of Christian principles and of course, to pray about them.
So, not for the first time, I find myself making a resolution to keep up to speed with current events and issues. If I don’t do this, how else am I going to engage with young people in our parish and in our schools? How else will I know what to support or oppose?
While it’s true that the news that filters our way is often selective and biased, we can’t use this as a reason for avoiding it all together. So, my very recent resolution this last week was to get stuck into my daily rag once again. And what did I find? Boris Johnson, the PM, at the Conservative Party Conference providing a non-stop supply of booster-ism while ignoring the immediate shortage crisis, the father who will adequately feed his two sons this winter but not himself and the midwife who works for 13 hours a day without a break. Then there are the debates in the US over abortion, race, guns and religion and yes, the sexual abuse scandal that has recently come to light in France.
One thing I’m beginning to realise is that little has changed with the news in recent history. It is still largely depressing and selective. It can leave you feeling quite despondent. What had changed for me was my capacity to face it and to accept that change for the better was often frustratingly slow.
Now, of course, I realise that I had to do what I had been doing many years before: to hold the newspaper in one hand and the holy scriptures in the other, to engage with the world and to absorb it into my prayer life with my eyes firmly fixed on the things of heaven, not on the things of earth, and to do it all in the power of the Holy Spirit. And one last thing, discuss the issues with like-minded people of faith. You will encourage one another and feel so much better for it.