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Remembering the Whistle-blower

Whistle-blowing is the act of exposing an inconvenient truth. And you have to be courageous to do it, especially when the expectation of sympathy from those against whom the whistle is blown, is as likely as a snow-ball being saved from purgatory by an indulgence purchased by one of Santa’s helpers.

Tomorrow marks the anniversary of that great whistle-blower, Martin Luther, who in 1517 nailed to the church door his objections to what was happening in the Roman Catholic institution. Unfortunately not too many in the church who read his article hit the ‘Like’ button. But some did, and were glad for the confrontation. The church of the day was raising money for a church building project, and one of their officers was promoting the idea that all donations would translate into immediate relief for those suffering beyond the grave in the purgatorial fires. “As soon as the cash register goes ‘cha-ching’,” said the good fellow, “a soul from purgatory springs!” Hard to resist really.

But Luther did, and blew the whistle as hard as he could. With eternities at stake, there was no time to save one’s career, or to indulge one’s fears, or to duck the consequences of a push against the system. Jesus blew the whistle in the temple, cracking the whip and turning over the money tables, to expose the institution’s heresy and hypocrisy. And in that same spirit, and with that same love for souls and concern for truth, so did his sixteenth century disciple.

DM 30th October 2012


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