Over at Kelvin’s blog, there’s an interesting set of reflections on the erosion of trust caused by the climate of fear of terrorism in which we live. It prompted a thought about a notorious incident in 1987, when the Remembrance Day ceremony in Enniskillen was bombed by the IRA. A clergy friend, who was there, preached about the incident on the following Sunday, focusing on the theme of the ‘sacrosanct’. As he saw it, the breaching of the wall against which the bystanders were waiting was the crossing of a boundary: something hitherto considered untouchable (people meeting ritually to honour the dead) had been violated.
It’s the ‘Glencoe principle’, in a way: as heinous as the violation of the rules of hospitality. Nothing new, you might say, but it’s reached new depths with the phenomenon of death and destruction being plotted by doctors, whose vocation is to save life, and who normally evoke our unquestioning trust.
It’s tempting to conclude that nothing is sacrosanct, but we can’t live in fear. Trust, hospitality, openness are more to be valued and honoured than ever. How do we do this while having a proper concern for our safety? I’m not sure I know the answer to that.