Saturday, July 20, 2019

Rehabilitation Through Punishment

Many examples of the point raised in this blog post's title can I am sure be  given particularly by school teachers.

However what caught my eye  this week as regards the above issue, is the ordination (CoE) of  Johnathan Aitken. 

Mr Aitken was as I recall, convicted of perjury at the end of C20 and sentenced to 18 months jail time of which he served about seven months. He had been very wealthy at least comparatively speaking but as a result perhaps of court cases for defamation, he lost his membership of parliament (Tory) and  was declared bankrupt. 

The perjury claims  involved pretty hideous issues including apparently some kind of arms scam and  points concerning one of the Princes of the  Saudi kingdom.

He pleaded guilty to perjury and perverting the course of justice hence the prison time.

His first sermon upon being ordained an CoE priest was at Pentonville Prison where according to the Times newspaper he said:

"Twenty years ago this month I started my own prison sentence in Belmarsh...a much tougher nick than here."

Yet having now been ordained a priest  there may be some analogy with the conversion of Saul,  essentially to Saint Paul:

"As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting," he replied. ... So they led him by the hand into Damascus."

Subsequently Saul whose crimes included those of executing people for being Christian, himself became Paul, a Christian and a great Apostle of Christ.

Mr Aitken went to Oxford following his release and studied Theology at Wycliffe Hall Oxford about which again according to The Times, he remarked:

"The only institution with worse food and more uncomfortable beds than prison."

Yet four years ago his Damascene conversion occurred. 

I wish him well.

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