Tuesday, September 11, 2007

There may be no tidy answer to the Maddie McCann mystery

Stephen Tall and Duncan Borrowman amongst others have commented very wisely on the...I can hardly write it....Maddie McCann investigation.

As a father I really can't even think about this without getting the jitters.

Moving swiftly on, on Thought for the day this morning (below) there was an interesting observation from Tom Butler. We're all so used to watching crime mystery programmes on telly that we expect a tidy answer to the Maddie McCann mystery. It is deeply tragic, but it could be that there is never a tidy answer to this one. Ask the parents of Ben Needham.

When I was a young curate I remember being told by a neighbouring vicar, then in his eighties, of the incident which had taken place fifty years earlier which still haunted him. Then, himself a curate, he'd been responsible for the visit of a Sunday school party to the seaside. One child disappeared, and sadly the coach had to return without her. Even though she'd been in the care of her aunt, the young priest felt responsible for her, and fifty years later, no-one still knew what had happened to her, and he still grieved for her loss.

You will understand that that story has been much in my mind during these last weeks and months as the story of Madeleine McCann missing on a family holiday in Portugal unfurls. We've all been caught up into the horror of this, and our emotions have been pulled this way and that for no-one seems to be beyond involvement in this story, from the most seemingly innocent, through suggestions of heavy handed police, and a whole army of well wishing supporters and odd eccentrics feeding the media with drops of gossip and innuendo day after day. Nor does the story seem to be abating now that the family has returned to England, and this isn't simply a media led story, for good and positive reasons we feel ourselves to be involved. We want to know what happened.

Of course if this were a fictional story at least we'd be following it in the assurance that by the time we reached the last page all would be revealed. We might be astonished with the revelation of the perpetrator of the crime and the link of events relating to the victim. But, all would ultimately be solved.

But life is no novel, and, as with my clerical friend and the Sunday school child, there may be no neat ending to the Madeleine McCann story. This isn't good news, but it's the truth. And in this family of faith, where is faith and God in all of this? We might well ask. Occasionally a superman sort of God seems to zap in and solve a tragic situation, more often the God who is present seems to be the helpless God who wept with the disciples as they sat at the foot of the cross grieving the death of his only begotten son.

"Thy Word is all, if we could spell," as the poet George Herbert put in, trying to fathom the mystery of God's ways. If we could spell. The trouble is we haven't yet learned how to.


  1. having read through the comments on this page i have fealt very sad that so many people still support the parents.its a simple fact that the pj were not looking for a body due to the parents story of her abduction and the massive publicity campaign to find her which was in my opinion a clever cover story . i find it strange that any couple would leave 3 tiny children alone night after night in an unlocked apartment when child minding facilities are available.even stranger that kate on finding maddy missing runs back to the tappa’s bar leaving the other 2 children in bed,what loving parent would leave 2 children alone in an unlocked apartment if she believed her duughter had been taken.more incledible is that arriving at the tappa’s bar she screams ‘they have taken her’. who exaclly are ‘they’. things are even more strange if you consider that if kate really believed ‘they’ had abducted maddy that both parents and their group of friends did not phone the police for several hours. in my opinion giving them time to create a cover story.my suspitions that the parents were somehow involved were imediatly fuelled by the fact that one of the close friends the parents were dining with told the police that she had seen a man run past her holding maddy in his arms on her way to the tappa’s bar to dine with the mc cann’s but diddn’t bother to mention it to he parents as they dined together.so lets get this right she see’s a stranger running away from the apartment holding maddy meets maddys parents and says nothing to them.
    that suggests that it was a story mad up by the group to make it look like an abduction.
    kates story of the windows on the apartment being forced which also would have seemed like and abduction were in fact false. there was no damage to the shutters or window.
    the general public sent over a million pounds to the parents in the belief that someone had abducted her now they are back in the uk they have hired publicity agents and the best legal team this country has and are planning to use this money to pay for it.
    please think long and hard about this case
    nobody knows right now what happened to this little girl but what i do know is that supposed sightings of maddy in belgium and elswhere did not seem to excite the mc canns , perhaps thats because they know the truth ?

  2. I have been followng this case from it happened and as a mother of 3 young children I can't ever believe that any parent would hurt let alone murder their own child - they are your most precious posession in the world and would do anything to protect them. Surely professional people whose job it is to save lives are not going to hurt their own. I don't think the Mc Canns could have done anything to harm their daughter.