Suffering

When Catholics Fight Back

SB 360, also known as Senate Bill 360, a proposal requiring priests in California to break the sacramental seal of confession, was placed on hold by its sponsor, State Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo), on 9 June, right before a hearing on the bill. For months before the vote, activists in California, across the nation, [...]

My Encounter with Light in the Valley of the Shadow of Death

When Jesus told his disciples, “I am the light of the world,” he was saying something deeply profound about himself. In fact, my academic background in physics convinces me that nothing in the material universe reveals as much about the divine nature. Most of us think of light as a source of illumination that renders [...]

Thoughts on Euthanasia Prompted by My Uncle’s Death

My French uncle, whom I always knew as “l’oncle Jean,” recently died. I was struck once again by the dignity and mercy of a Christian death, despite the accompanying pain and anguish. Unlike Brittany Maynard from Oregon who, suffering from terminal brain-cancer, euthanized herself, and unlike “Laura” from Belgium who, though physically healthy, intends to [...]

Of Saints, Suffering, and Scleroderma

In my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions (Col. 1.24). “Hello, Faddah!” I’m guessing it was probably the first time Pope John Paul II heard that one in the Vatican’s audience hall. It was my sister, Adeline, who was visiting Rome with my mom and dad many years ago. None of them were Catholic at [...]

What Do We Say to the Bereaved?

When U.S. photojournalist Jim Foley, following nearly two years of close captivity by the terrorist thugs of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), was finally and gruesomely decapitated—a video of his execution having been posted online—the bereaved family received the usual outpouring of sympathy and support from a civilized world outraged by this [...]

On Being and Staying Catholic in the Modern World

Editor’s note: The following is an address delivered June 7, 2014 to the graduating class of St. Michael the Archangel High School in Fredericksburg, Virginia. I love being here at this school. I love what you are trying to do. I am moved by the faith of your parents, and the generosity of your families, [...]

Chiara Corbella: A Witness to Joy

In worldly terms, Chiara Corbella’s life was not a success story: two children dying shortly after birth, herself ravaged by an aggressive cancer, which killed her at the young age of 28, leaving a beloved husband and a small son behind. This is not the kind of material dreams are made of. Yet when one [...]

The Dalai Lama, The Pope, and Creation

The Dalai Lama has been awarded this year’s Templeton Prize, an annual honor given by the Templeton Foundation to a figure who, according to the foundation’s website, “has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension.” In practice, the Prize has gone frequently to thinkers who have investigated the interaction between science and religion. [...]

Simone Weil’s Reflections on the Cross

At the European Court of Human Rights two British women are trying to establish their right to wear crosses in public. We have been used to hearing about battles in courts throughout the world concerning the public display of crucifixes (or the Ten Commandments), as well as the wearing of religious symbols in general. The [...]

A Tsunami Cannot Be Drawn in Pastels: On Dignity and Suffering

When I was a little girl, our family knew a Frenchwoman. I don't recall her name, but I remember her vividly. She seemed to me very glamorous and mysterious, forever wearing a too-bright shade of lipstick, smelling of a heavy overlay of carnation and a dim underlay of what I now recognize as vodka. She [...]

The Ministry of Suffering

Christianity is called the "Good News" because it brings hope -- the hope of both forgiveness and everlasting life. That matters because we are fallen creatures, prone to sin and death. The New Testament warns of that false comfort zone where we say, "Peace and security," for that is when Christ will come, like a [...]

Bishop Slattery on Suffering

Bishop Slattery of Oklahoma was the principal celebrant of a pontifical mass at the national basilica in Washington, D.C., over the weekend, in honor of Benedict's fifth anniversary as pope. His homily on suffering from that mass has been making the rounds; if you haven't had a chance to read it yet, take a minute [...]

The Extraordinary Power of Suffering

Last week, Adrianne Adderley, an extraordinary woman that we members of the Susanka Clan are proud to call "friend," wrote an equally extraordinary story for LifeSiteNews. It recounts the devastating sorrow Adrianne recently suffered when she lost her fifth son, Phillip, to a miscarriage. And it also speaks of the way in which her suffering, (and her [...]

Finding Gratitude in Difficult Times

Thanksgiving is traditionally a time to gather with family, enjoy the sweet aromas of turkey and stuffing, and remember all the things for which we are grateful. But with the recent economic downturn, many people will have their holiday darkened by financial crisis. Families that usually host a lavish Thanksgiving dinner may have to cut [...]

Animal Protection or Animal Rights? A Conversation with Brian Saint-Paul

Christians have the obligation to be stewards over all of creation, including the beasts. Unfortunately, those who are currently promoting the "rights" of animals are, intentionally or otherwise, undermining their own -- and our -- human dignity. To put the problem in a nutshell, "The more we treat animals like humans, the easier it will [...]

A Psalm for Serotonin

It's February again. I've suffered three weeks of cold, steady rain here in San Francisco, rain that creeps under my collar like slimy earthworms, rain that squeezes out of the fog like suds. Perennially happy people smirk and say, "Yes, but it makes snow in the mountains." I want to bonk them with their ski [...]

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