Brighton priest 'feels sorry' for Jamie Bulger's killer

Posted On 07 Mar 2010 at 10:36 pm

A Brighton priest has posted a second controversial blog entry in a week.

Father Ray Blake has told parishioners that he feels “immensely sorry” for Jon Venables, the killer of Liverpool toddler James Bulger.

Venables has been returned to prison for breaching the terms of his release on licence.

Fr Blake showed his awareness of the way in which his remarks could become a talking point by writing: “Just to excite the wrath of our local paper (The Argus), I feel immensely sorry for Venables – as well as Jamie Bulger and his poor mother.”

The priest, of St Mary Magdalen Church in Upper North Street, Brighton, said yesterday: “It must be horrendous for Venables to wake up every morning and see facing him in the mirror a hated child killer, carrying all the baggage of a corrupted childhood which led up to murder, and the baggage which followed his conviction.

“A wife murderer once gave me the most convincing argument I’ve heard for capital punishment, ‘It would be merciful. Father, you wouldn’t have live with the memories and the guilt day in day out.’

“We are what we are, what our parents, our childhood, our experiences have made us.

“They are inescapable. We can run away from them into drink, drugs or hedonism of one sort or another.”

The reference to hedonism echoes the controversial blog posting by the Roman Catholic priest on Saturday 27 February when he wrote: “It is very tempting in Brighton for political candidates to pander to the more vociferous elements of the hedonistic ‘gay lobby’ and ignore the ‘faith’ communities and their concerns.”

Fr Blake concluded his latest blog entry by writing: “Say a prayer for all involved in Jamie Bulger’s murder – may God heal them.”

  1. Colin Harte Reply

    Fr Blake is not making light of the terrible murder of Jamie Bulger — far from it. But he is saying that no matter how great our sins are God wants us to turn to him for forgiveness because he is infinitely merciful. If God is compassionate, wanting Jon Venables to turn to him with sorrow for forgiveness and for the healing of his damaged soul that comes with forgiveness, then it is surely right for a priest to feel sorry for him — to be compassionate and to bring him God’s mercy. It is the role of a priest to bring God’s mercy to sinners (and we are all sinners!). Kudos to Fr Blake and all priests like him.

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