Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Short Arm of the Law

On Saturday morning we made a disagreeable discovery in the Church: a thief had visited and made off with the gold Crucifix which stands on the altar of the Lady Chapel. It's about two foot high and was commissioned specifically for this Church. Understandably the Sacristan was very upset and disturbed. As news went out other people began to express their distress as well: including the ladies who had cleaned the Church the night before and worried (without reason) that they might have been to blame for not locking up afterwards.
It's important in these circumstances not to cause further distress by getting upset or worked up. I sought to re-assure everyone and made a mental note to call the police and also to commission a new Crucifix. I also decided to lock the inner doors of the Church - they have leaded glass so people coming into the porch can still see the Tabernacle although they can't get into the main body of the Church. We do this whenever there's an incident of this nature because if the thief comes back and fins the Church locked each time he usually gets deterred.
On Saturday, however, something unusual happened. A young man started met one of our parishioners outside the school and said he new of someone who had stolen an Cross from a Church and wanted to sell it. She put him in contact with Fr Marcus who spoke to him in the porch and then she found me to let me know what was happening. I grabbed my camera and went to the porch. The young man repeated his story: he didn't steal the Cross but he knew who did. He wasn't a 'grass' but could arrange for us to buy it back. So I took his picture - and he left not best pleased.
I then telephoned the police. The response of the woman who took the call? Was it, "Well, done. You've done our work for us?" Was it heck! "Sir, did you get his permission before taking the photograph?"
So he's nicked my Crucifix but I've obviously breached his human rights! "A fair cop, guv. Come and take me away". Anyone fancy visiting me in Jug?
Yesterday afternoon I saw him again on the street (he lives nearby). "When are you going to give me back my Crucifix?" "I can't mate I can only buy it back for you".
It's a shame I'm not in one of my former parishes. There I wouldn't need to rely on the police... the Altar Boys would have sorted things out for me!

1 comment:

Fr Tim Finigan said...

Take him up on the offer of buying it back and make sure you video the handover. Put the video on YouTube and alert the Daily Mirror :-)