Friday, July 8, 2005

'They Don't Want Priests' at London Bomb Site

"The image of emergency services wanting priests at the scene has finished.They don't want priests there."

Fr. Peter Newby of St. Mary Moorfield Parish, who had hoped to help at a London bombing site.

Not knowing the whole story, I admit it's possible that the emergency-services personnel's decision to bar the priest was based on concerns for his safety. But I don't doubt for a minute that Fr. Newby knew the risk he was taking, just as Fr. Mychal Judge did when he entered the Twin Towers on 9/11—becoming the first recorded fatality of the attacks.

The British well know of Fr. Judge's sacrifice, and of how much it meant to 9/11 victims and emergency-service workers to have Judge and other clergymen on the scene (including the FDNY's Jewish chaplain). It's a shame that the 7/7 workers didn't likewise realize the value—if not, as many would say, the necessity—of having a member of the clergy present.