Page 4, 10th September 1976

10th September 1976
Page 4
Page 4, 10th September 1976 — THERE is no more compassionate and kind place than this
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People: Brian Tierney

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THERE is no more compassionate and kind place than this

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island. I know of no country which strives with such painful honesty as this country to achieve justice, and more than justice, for its citizens and for the world.

No other country opens its hospitals so generously to the sick from foreign lands. In no country is there so ready a response to new-found forms of distress. Nowhere is eccentricity. wickedness even, treated with such forbearante. We pay to defend those who wound us.

Artless we are, and we make many mistakes. Sometimes they are terrifying. as when we make a law to kill the 'child in the womb. Then we arc monstrous, compassion turning in upon itself, protectors of the weak assailing the weakest.

Sometimes they are touching, as when we claim rights over the Rhodesians. Then

we seem sad and a little faded. superfluous grandfathers living in another age.

Sometimes they are fumbling, as when we make desolate the centres of cities and pack the countryside with commuters. Then we seem myopic and silly, filling the pockets of builders of empty space.

But these are the errors of men everywhere. Our virtues are our own. There is a naïve candour in our conduct of affairs and an honesty in our administrators which are enviable the world over. Whatever the future of pay restraints and economic policies, surely our effort to make sense of the shift in power between government, industry. and the unions is a model for everybody.

There is a capricious genius in this land that plays tricks on its inhabitants. We think we are serving our own ends and find we have produced the rule of law. the Mother of Parliaments and the sine qua non of constitutions everywhere.

When Professor Brian Tierney decided to study the development of the law relating to the poor, he chose England as his setting. He .vegan with the attempt of the canon lawyers to give force to the injunction that the property of the Church is the patrimony of the poor.

He found they had erected a noble edifice. the central pillar of which was that poverty is not a kind of :Time. The building fell down when the monasteries were dissolved.

Brian Tierney found we had built it up again in 1945. There is no more compassionate and kind place than this island.




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