I'm told that the alms box was smashed open at the Catholic church of Our Lady & St Benedict in Birchington last week.
Apparently, Father Boniface had opened the church and was busy in the Sachristy when the thief or thieves struck, using something as weighty as a lump-hammer on the charity box, just inside the main entrance to the church.
A sign of the troubled times perhaps but one which leaves me feeling more than a little depressed at the moral implications of the crime. Many parishioners are retired and don't have a great deal of money themselves and so like the New Testament parable of the"widows mite" offering a donation for the poor of the parish has a symbolism that goes back two thousand years.
In the parable, "Jesus highlights how a poor widow donates only two mites, the least valuable coins available at the time. But, Jesus observes, this sum was everything she had to her name, while the other people give only a small portion of their own wealth."
Anyway, the broken alms box is no more and the parish is spiritually poorer for its loss. What drives a person, I wonder to steal money from a church? You may recall, not so long ago, I wrote about the collection being stolen during the service at St Peter's church in Westgate.
Elsewhere, I hear the Salvation Army in Kent is running out of supplies for its food parcels and in Thanet, the Citizen's Advice Bureau tells us that their has been an alarming in increase in the number of local families in financial difficulties. Meanwhile, at Westminster, more revelations today. Second homes that don't exist, £8,000 televisions and £16,000 bookcases. Hardly a moral or indeed spiritual example to others I fear.