Suffering and Contending Cardinals

A blessed memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, the World Day of the Sick, on which I posted a few words in an editorial. Today’s regular reading, in God’s good providence, corresponds with the feast, as the crowds press in upon Christ, and all those who touched even the ‘hem of His garment’ were healed, a prelude of the efficacy of the sacraments and prayer. One might think that Christ was taking all those illnesses and diseases, all the anguish and anxieties, upon Himself in some mystical way.

Our modern world, on the contrary, awash in a vague, mawkish sentimentality, responds to suffering with grave evil, all in the name of ‘doing good’. Murdering patients – however humanely, quietly, peacefully and professionally – to relieve their pain is a case in point. So is permitting a woman’s ‘right to choose’ in difficult pregnancies, the snuffing out of the life of her unborn child, who is only called a ‘child’ when it is ‘wanted’? Andrew Cuomo has categorized those who oppose his abortion law, calling out Cardinal Dolan by name, as ‘part of the religious right’, accusing them of ‘spreading falsehoods about abortion’. What, like it’s the murder of an unborn child?

What was that Christ prophesied, they will call good evil and evil good. The final judgement is going to be an interesting experience, to understate the case, and I spare not myself in that assessment. Spare us, O Lord, from hidden faults. And not-so-hidden ones.

Although suffering is an ‘evil’, in the sense that we would want naturally to remain intact and healthy and alive, we can turn what evils we suffer into a great good, by uniting those sufferings with Christ. Only moral evil – such as abortion and euthanasia – is inconsistent with such a union, but the suffering that moral evil brings – psychological, spiritual, even physical – can certainly be ‘offered up’.

Speaking of moral evil, I drove our third-year students into Ottawa yesterday for their annual trip, to take in Winterlude and skate the canal. A glorious day, all in all. But in the midst of my own meanderings, doing a prayer pilgrimage of sorts, I stumbled across a ‘Pride’ event, with the logo outside the CBC building dragooned in rainbow colours, with a drag queen of sorts lyp-synching to Queen on a stage, all publicly funded indoctrination, of course, all occurring right next to the abortuary on Bank Street, where it is now illegal to protest or even to pray. So I said a chaplet quietly on the sidewalk, as people wandered to and fro with their rainbow flags tucked into their puffy parkas, and I just sighed a deep alas for our Canadian ‘culture’. May Christ intercede for us all, that – I hope – most know now what they do. Havens of truth, goodness and beauty are more necessary than ever.

We certainly know not what goes on in the souls of those suffering, and the response to sorrow is unique in each person, in what Pope John Paul in his 1984 letter Salivifici Doloris calls the ‘world of human suffering’. This is the sixth anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI’s announcement that he intended to resign his papacy, a decision that has caused much controversy and, yes, a good deal of suffering. Confusion and ambiguity in the Magisterium, sparing not even outright scandal. It is remarkable that Cardinal Mueller, the former head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has deemed it necessary in his own conscience to issue a clear and unambiguous ‘manifesto’ on certain central truths of the Catholic faith, including the necessity of a proper formation of conscience, as well as refraining from Communion when in grave sin. Those who claim that to teach otherwise, to sowing confusion and ambiguity, he describes as of the party of the Antichrist. Hmm. All bread and butter Catholicism.

Yet, as I was writing this, I just read that Cardinal Kasper has decried his fellow Cardinal’s letter, claiming that this it is this manifesto that is spreading ‘confusion and division’. As mentioned, one might think that Cardinal Mueller is doing just the opposite, sowing rather much-needed clarity and truth. So it is the battle of the Cardinals in something far more serious than baseball, a division – dare I say an incipient schism? – that Our Lady predicted in various of her apparitions. I will have to more write on this, but for now, read, and make up your own mind. It seems we will all soon have to decide whose side we are on. What we can hope is that the truth will be manifest to those open to the truth and in a state of grace, for God has no desire to deceive us; after all, He came to offer us His very self as the Way, the Truth and the Life, and He has and will continue to make this plain – but the Devil and his minion the Antichrist will certainly do their best to obfuscate the truth and lead us astray.

Somehow, all of this is part of God’s overall plan, even if some particular details – or people – resist His will. So, as today’s psalm sings, I will bless the Lord at all times, even those times when He may not seem to be all that close by. But our faith tells us that He always is.