Peter McVerry SJ
‘Up Stairs, Down Stairs’: Whose Interests are being Protected?
John and Jane are tenants in the same house. John lives in a flat on the top floor. At 8 o’clock in the morning he pulls the curtains; the sun shines in. He looks out the window at the mountains in the distance rolling down to the sea. The mountains are beautiful; sometimes in winter they are covered in snow; mostly, though, they are a luscious mixture of greens and browns. He sees the ships coming in and out of the harbour and the yachts on the sea. The sun shows the scene in all its beauty. He says: ‘It is a beautiful day. It is great to be alive’.
Jane lives in the basement flat of the same house. At 8 o’clock in the morning she pulls the curtains; nothing happens. The sun cannot get in. She looks out the window but she cannot see the mountains, or the sea or the yachts or the sun. All she sees is a stone wall, yards from the window. She hardly knows what sort of day it is.