The Corrosion of Trust

Pope Francis speaks openly of the possibility of schism within the Catholic Church; many are increasingly sceptical of what our politicians say or the so-called facts on which they base their policies; some in the U.K. have even begun to doubt the independence of the judiciary or the way in which the British constitution has typically functioned (Bagehot, thou shouldst be living at this hour!) Trust has been corroded, and the sad fact is that once that has happened, it is very difficult to rebuild.

I wish I had an answer to this problem, but I don’t. In the dark hours of this morning, after I had made my prayer and was thinking about today’s section of the Rule (RB 1. 16–22), Benedict’s reminder that ‘we are all one in Christ and serve alike in the same army of the one Lord’ struck me with renewed force. It may be a perverse reading of the text, but it gives me hope to think that, however obscure and powerless we may seem to ourselves, our personal trustworthiness does make a difference. The politicians’ ‘we are all in this together’ expresses an uncomfortable truth. We are all part of something bigger, and it is important that we live up to the demands that makes.

In a world where fake news, phishing emails and scams of every kind proliferate, being determined to be truthful and just matters. Today’s Mass readings (Colossians 3.12–17 and Luke 6. 27–38) reinforce the point. We can be better than we know, but it won’t be easy.

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7 thoughts on “The Corrosion of Trust”

  1. You are right, we can only make sure that we as individuals are truthful and trustworthy. Sadly, trust is like a fine porcelain. Once shattered, it can‘t be repaired easily, and you always see the cracks. Most disturbing.

  2. We do have a personal responsibility to remain trustworthy, to help mend relationships and show others the way. And it is painful but necessary to remain steadfast despite the hurts we have endured from other’s lack thereof. God remains forever there for us, may he give us the graces to strive to do the same. Not always easy though.

  3. Difficult not to become angry and cynical in the face of so much social and political turmoil. Going to start closer to home by building trust with family and work colleagues. I think that means me behaving in a way that supports rather than undermines and avoids those easy-to-make half truths that make me feel better but are not good/honest. I will need God’s graces to do even a half decent job of that. The bigger picture will have to wait I am afraid.

  4. I regret to say that I find it so easy in the current situations to get sucked into negative thoughts, to post a “funny” post on FBook (but to be honest a sharp one). It is hard, and at the moment very hard, to be prepared to listen to those you disagree with; instead we (and that is also an I) dig trenches and shout at those who have different views.
    I need, we all need, some peace and grace.

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