Watching 'Songs of Praise' last night I was overcome by a sense of lost innocence. Worse, when I looked into the sweetly sympathetic, staring eyes of Richard Coles as he interviewed the woman speaking expertly about hymns I realised that I have never been able to emanate that gaze.
Down the years people have come to me as a priest looking for someone to confirm them in their religious innocence, indeed somehow to reinforce it. I have tried hard not to disappoint them.
But finally, perhaps long since, I have reached the point where all I can do honestly is share with them my own sense of religious loss, trusting that they will be as sensitive to my bereavement as I have always sought to be to theirs.