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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

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Gerry and Kate McCann and the power of faith

No two ways about it, the statistical chances now of finding missing Madeleine McCann hover somewhere between slim and nil.

But if any should choose to doubt the all-consuming power of absolute faith, they should look in awe to her parents, Gerry and Kate McCann, who have never – not even for a moment – doubted they will be reunited with their daughter.

They’ll have no truck with statistics.

Only a parent who has lost a child to tragedy could begin to appreciate the pain that loss involves.

Only a parent could dare to imagine which scenario might be preferable – knowing a loved one is safely at peace or clinging to a grain of hope that he or she will one day be home again.

In reality, the McCanns have precious little on which to build their hopes.

A new computer-generated photo, words of comforting encouragement from Scotland Yard. It doesn’t amount to much.

But in the five years since little Maddie left their lives so suddenly, they have constructed a worldwide conscience-case with ability to move mountains.

They will not give up.

They will never stop searching for their daughter.

It’s impossible not to be moved by their determination for longed reunion.

Unconditional love, the kind that recognises no obstacles, accepts no barriers and fights fiercely for its own sake is irresistible.

It can move mountains. Faith of this unquestioning nature has changed the world.

Gerry and Kate McCann have invested all their faith in that power. And frankly, it would seem rudely limited and less than human not to want to do the same – to share their faith.

Police in Portugal do not.

They have said they can find no good reason to reopen the case of missing Madeleine.

They want no more to do with the distraught parents nor with what is believed to be new evidence for investigation.

And former home secretary Alan Johnson didn’t help when he said he wasn’t surprised there was “some resentment” towards the family in Portugal.

Maybe he was right. Desperation, faith and unconditional love are difficult forces to deal with.

They bring screams of frustration at perceived inaction. They combine to produce criticism and are translated too readily as hysterical obsession. A kind of madness.

But what parent in their position wouldn’t act in precisely the same way?

What mother wouldn’t claw ferociously at anyone or anything standing in the way of her holding her lost baby in her arms again?

Police here have refused to say what new evidence they have to suggest Maddie McCann was abducted by a stranger from the family’s holiday flat in Praia da Luz and is still alive.

But their conviction will raise hopes in many who had feared the worst for Maddie.

Not so Gerry and Kate.

For them the flame of hope and conviction has never faltered. And if absolute faith can change the world, it can surely bring a little girl home again to unconditional love.

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