Pastor’s Corner for the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A, by Rev. William (Billy) Davies

This week the attack on private citizens by the VIP Protection unit of the Deputy President has dominated social media and news broadcasts. Our WhatsApp groups have shared the video of these innocent men being viciously beaten by heavily armed police so many times that I have lost count. Business and private conversations have almost all had the question: “Have you seen the video of the police beating up those men” and so it has gone on and on and on, relentlessly.

I have no problem with the incident being reported and even discussed, but when added to the many other incidents of violence and killing this week, it swamps the mind and spirit with a dark and gloomy sense of being and affects our outlook on the country and the future. There are “red flags” here that we should all be aware of, as this repeated focus on these sad events can negatively affect each of us.

This week we launched Safeguarding Month to focus on and reach out to all people who have experienced some form of trauma or wounding in their lives. Trauma, however, has many different “faces”, and the causes of trauma are diverse. I like the term “wounding” used by Fr Bruce in last week’s Pastor’s Corner because it includes those who may never have experienced direct trauma yet, feel wounded and despondent and share the same lingering effects and reactions of someone who did experience the actual traumatic events.

In the presentation after Mass, the Holy Trinity Safeguarding committee chairperson highlighted the different forms of abuse, including psychological or emotional trauma. Psychological or emotional trauma causes can be very subtle. Constant exposure to stories or reports of negative and traumatic events, such as the video footage of armed VIP police beating innocent men, can have lasting psychological effects on us all, and it’s worse for children. We call this vicarious or secondary trauma.

The symptoms of vicarious trauma are similar to those of actual trauma. The sufferer, adult or child, may experience signs and symptoms such as social withdrawal, mood swings, aggression, sensitivity to violence, sleep difficulties or other responses. It is often called the “silent trauma”.

During Safeguarding month and continuing afterwards, Holy Trinity wants to help. Each Sunday in July, our Safeguarding committee will give a short talk. On Sunday, 30th July, there will be two experienced counsellors in Trinity Hall after both morning masses should anyone need to talk about their experiences or feel they need help.


Rev William (Billy) Davies