Letter from Father Richard

Dear Parishioners,

For eight years I was the subject or victim of a stalker. She was a very plausible woman of professional status. She was not a parishioner. It is very difficult to imagine how persistent night time late ‘phone calls, personal daytime visits to my presbytery and all the madness that goes with stalking had an effect on my wellbeing.
If she was of sound mind, you could say she was sinning against me. She certainly damaged me emotionally and psychologically.

We have legitimate rights to defend ourselves against any person who sins against us, to remove ourselves from harm’s way if possible, to confront them with their wrong doing. What Jesus says to us is that, in spite of it all, we should not harbour a spirit of resentment or vengeance against our oppressors. This can be so difficult. I know at the time I didn’t hold resentment or a spirit of vengeance against the woman, but it did not stop her harming me.

Many people have been in similar situations within their families or places of work. An attitude of forgiveness does not mean that we have to be doormats. So often forgiveness is seen as acquiescence in someone wrongdoing against us. It is not. Further, forgiveness is not the same as reconciliation. Well, there’s food for thought.

Have a good week.

Fr. Richard