Sursum Corda
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Topical musings from a Catholic perspective

Friday, May 24, 2002
MAILBAG: Mail on the women’s ordination issue continues to trickle in. One reader raises the issue of how any change might affect ecumenical work with the Orthodox:
I have to say that it is one of the issues that doesn't cause me sleepless nights. If it is of God it will come in His time and if not it won't. But two things do catch my attention recently. What is the theology of the Eastern Churches for surely that is an extremely important tradition? And any move away from what has been held in common would make unity most unlikely. Also, the interesting fact that almost all the Protestant ministerial positions in this one city have been filled by women. It would seem that soon more men than ever will be in flight from religion taking the European view that religion is woman's work.
Another writer spoke of the struggles she faced in discussing this issue with her niece, for whom she is a confirmation sponsor:

These months of preparation before the big day have left me at a loss for words quite often. As a Catholic laywoman engaged in ministry, I especially struggled as we discussed with her the role/s she might take on as an adult Catholic Christian. The struggle ensues because sadly, as we know too well, our Church is an institution in which her gifts and the gifts of other women are only partially welcome. Since she is not at a level at which she can actively engage the larger questions at play here, I gently encouraged her to look beyond the Church for ways she can share her gifts in love and in service. That has sufficed for now. My prayer for her is that as she grows in faith and in wisdom, that she lets the confines of no institution (religious or otherwise) limit her ability to actively engage life with the gifts given her by God.
My clarification on my views on the differences between men and women (scroll down to Thursday’s posts) brought this response from one reader:

Perhaps what you MEANT was your hope for your daughter not to be anything SHE wants to be, but to be anything GOD wants her to be. This in my view is the rub. The Holy Spirit, no joke, has planted the notion in my silly brain that all this official praying we do "for vocations to the priesthood" will come to naught until we the Church, the up-until-now-broken Body of Christ get it through our thick fractured skulls that God calls to the priesthood persons with an X-chromosome, and those vocations are, in these times and by our church, thwarted.
Note to biology students who are leaping onto e-mail: I know that men have an X chromosome and my correspondent knows it too (she e-mailed a correction later). Focus on the broader point.

Now as to the question of whether I “think like a Catholic” (scroll down to Wednesday’s posts), the verdict seems to be that I think more like a Catholic than a Zoroastrian. That’s a relief. One reader offered some advice:

Don't worry too much about it. There is way too much internecine bickering in the House of the Lord. Ask yourself if you accept all the fundamental teachings of Christianity, the ones all mainstream Christian churches agree on. If you're okay with those, and with most of Rome, do as little as you can to undermine that with which you disagree, unless you can prove, using the rules of our Church, that they are false. Keep your conscience in good order, approach those with whom you disagree with Humility and Charity, and never raise a merely human problem above a clearly spiritual one, and you will be fine.
Others were more pithy in their observations:

IMNSHO, yes, you do -- like an AMERICAN Catholic. That is, independently. 'course, from Rome's perspective, that also makes you (and lots of others) heretical.
I’m pretty sure he’s kidding about the heresy part. Well, reasonably sure anyway. Need to check Canon 751 to be sure. I also received a slightly longer post from Steve Mattson of
In Formation who believed my views on the role of conscience were in error:

You are, it seems, applying conscience to matters of faith. And that, I believe, is an error. You must follow your conscience in terms of moral action, but I don't believe it applies to questions of faith. My sense of reading the Catechcism of the Catholic Church (888-893) and the following quote from DV is that we don't have a choice. We must assent to the Church's teaching in matters of faith and morals.

Consider also Dei Verbum 5: By faith man freely commits his entire self to God, making "the full submission of his intellect and will to God who reveals," (Vat I, Dogmatic Constitution on Catholic Faith, 3) and willingly assenting to the Revelation given by him. Before this faith can be exercised, man must have the grace of God to move and assist him; he must have the interior helps of the Holy Spirit, who moves the heart and converts it to God, who (opens) the eyes of the mind and "makes it
easy for all to accept and believe the truth" (Orange II, can. 7).

Now whether phenomenologically this "ease of belief" is felt is an open question, but the assent of faith is not an option for those who call themselves Catholic. It is my sense that Catholics are not offered the option to believe only those things they can embrace "in good conscience." Much less are they bound by their conscience to deny those teachings to which they cannot assent.
Other Catholic Bloggers also weighed in on the issue. In response to the question of whether I was thinking like a Catholic, Mike Hardy of Enemy of the Church wrote “more than your critics,” which is very gracious, but probably undeserved. Eve Tushnet posed a number of good questions, only one of which is excerpted here (click here to read the whole thing):

How elastic is Nixon's understanding of Catholicism here? Say someone came to him and said, "I'm a faithful Catholic, but, after thoroughly examining the issue and trying to form my conscience as the Church instructs, I think that the Church is just plain wrong about [X]." For which X's would Nixon conclude that this person was just not self-aware or accurate in his belief that he had properly formed his conscience? Can you be a faithful Catholic and think that it's OK to commit adultery; skip Mass on Sunday; receive Communion while in a state of mortal sin; shtup someone of your own sex; etc.? (I'm not comparing women's ordination to any of these acts--I'm trying to figure out what Nixon thinks are the boundaries of the Catholic community, and how he goes about discerning those boundaries.)
Summa Contra Mundum delves into the relationship between conscience and faith and wonders whether a person’s conscience might lead them out of the Church.

So where does that put the dissenter? It seems to me that he or she has no other choice but to leave the Church. If you don't believe as the Church believes, why would you stay? I wouldn't be a Muslim if I didn't believe Mohammed was a prophet. So how can one be a Catholic who doesn't believe in the infallibility of the pope? A conscience that tells someone not to accept an infallibly declared teaching of the Church must also tell the person not to remain in that church. Anything less would be inconsistent. Of course, if the person were to balk at leaving the Church, I would suggest that rather than dissent, prayerful acceptance is the answer. There is faith that tugs at the person, leading him to remain in the Church; the dissenter ought to pray and work that this faith succeed in seeking understanding.

Oh, by the way, I am not directing this personally at Peter Nixon. I am just trying to work out the logical consequences of dissenting from Church teaching.
As Michael Corleone used to say, “it’s not personal. It’s business.” This is probably not the time to go into detail about the precise nature of the charism of infallibility. Suffice to say that I do not hold the view described in the above paragraph. So I guess I’ll be around for a while.

I’m taking a time-out from theological combat for a while, so don’t expect me to post a detailed response to any of the above. It’s time to move on.

posted by Peter Nixon 12:36 PM
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ONE FLESH: In today’s reading from the Gospel of Mark, Jesus lays out a vision of marriage that seems at odds with the Jewish tradition that He inherited. The Mosaic law allowed a husband to write a “bill of divorce” if he wished to divorce his wife. But Jesus argues that this law was only a concession to human weakness. God’s intention is that marriage should be permanent: “So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined, no human being must separate.”

Why is it so important that marriage be a lifelong commitment? One can think of sociological reasons of course, having to do with the strength of families and the welfare of children. These are clearly important. Some scripture scholars have suggested that Jesus’ command was an attempt to protect women (who had few rights under Jewish law) from arbitrary treatment by their husbands. This, too, may be true.

But I think there is a deeper meaning to Jesus’ words. Marriage, in its own way, is a form of religious life. The vows of marriage call the parties to a particular form of poverty, chastity and obedience. For a marriage to succeed, each party must gradually come to see life through the eyes of the other. It involves a dying to self and a rising to a new form of life.

During a long marriage, a couple lives that paschal mystery many times. There is the inevitable adjustment as they move from the single life to the married state. The relationship changes again, sometimes dramatically, with the arrival of children. Tragedy, illness, or infidelity may bring further change. Finally, there is the drama of aging, where couples often must rediscover one another as husband and wife after so many years as mother and father. It is by working their way—often with difficulty—through these various stages that a couple truly becomes “one flesh.”

If marriage is only a contract, a relationship that continues only as long as the individual needs of both parties are met, then this sort of transformation cannot occur. If we jump out the first time—or even the second or third time—that we hit a rough patch, then we’re not going to become the people that our God—the God of the Covenant—is calling us to be.

posted by Peter Nixon 8:53 AM
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Thursday, May 23, 2002
BE ALL THAT YOU CAN BE: A few of the letters I received last week took issue with this line from my post on women’s ordination: “She [my daughter] will grow up assuming—as her grandmothers and great-grandmothers did not—that she can truly be anything she wants to be.”

Now I will admit the line is probably more of a rhetorical flourish than an accurate statement of fact. Generally I try to leave that sort of thing on the cutting room floor, but this one slipped through. It’s the hazard of being one’s own editor.

Here’s the point I was trying to make: It was not so long ago that the idea that a woman could be anything other than a wife or mother was considered absurd. It was said that "by her nature" a woman could never be anything else. Clearly, that has not turned out to be the case. I work alongside doctors (a lot of doctors), lawyers, and business people who are women and who are very good at what they do. So there is a reason that many people are suspicious of arguments that suggest a woman can't be something simply because she is a woman. Those arguments demand more proof—a lot more proof—than they used to.

I'm happy that my daughter will grow up in a country where most people will not assume that she is incapable of something simply because she is a woman. I think this is progress and I think its one of the things that makes the United States a better place to live than, say, Saudi Arabia, where they veil women and export terrorists. Are there jobs and roles that are going to be a lot more difficult for her than for a man? Sure. I don't think most women are cut out for combat infantry. On the other hand, while it is probably a sin to feel this way, there was something a little delicious about watching the women-hating Taliban troops being blown to bits by women bomber pilots.

None of this, by itself, is an argument in favor of women's ordination. The issue there, the only issue, is fidelity to God's will. I simply wished to point out the changes in the cultural climate that had brought the question to the fore. It's harder to defend the teaching than it was a century ago. In fact, for most of its history, there was no need to defend the teaching because no one would have ever thought to question it. Because of the changing status of women, that is no longer the case.

posted by Peter Nixon 12:43 PM
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CUT IT OFF: In today’s reading from the Gospel of Mark, Jesus offers a series of warnings about the dangers of sin. If a particular part of our body—our hand, our foot, our eye—leads us to sin, it would be better for us to do without it than to be “thrown into Gehenna.” Gehenna was Jerusalem’s garbage dump where large fires burned constantly.

What are we to make of Jesus’ warnings? Surely He does not mean to suggest that we should mutilate ourselves? While one must be careful in suggesting what our Lord meant to say as opposed to what He did say, I think it unlikely that Jesus was endorsing such a practice.

One of the points that Jesus is trying to make is that following Him is a radical choice, and sometimes requires radical steps. Some times we must “cut off” those parts of our lives that lead us away from God and toward sin, which is really two ways of saying the same thing. As older versions of the Act of Contrition put it, we need to avoid “the near occasion of sin.”

Most alcoholics in recovery have found that they must completely cut themselves off from alcohol. “Just one drink” quickly leads to another and another. Felons who are released into the community often find that if they continue to associate with their old friends, they adopt patterns of behavior that lead them back to jail. Cutting off old friends is hard, but sometimes it’s the only way to stay out of trouble.

Even if our lives are not this “exciting,” we may still need to cut ourselves off from things that harm us spiritually. How many of us spend far more time watching television or (ahem) surfing the Internet than we do at prayer? Reading (or—God forbid—publishing) a religious web site is no substitute for time spent with the Lord. If your mouse button leads you to sin…

posted by Peter Nixon 9:24 AM
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Wednesday, May 22, 2002
SAY IT ISN'T SO SHAWN: Father Shawn O'Neal has announced that Onealism will cease publication as of next Tuesday. I am really, really depressed. But let's all wish the good Father well in his new assignment.

posted by Peter Nixon 9:19 PM
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DO I THINK LIKE A CATHOLIC? YOU DECIDE: Last week, I disclosed some of the personal difficulties I faced in assenting to the Church’s teaching that the ordained priesthood must be restricted to men. I received a number of comments, both positive and negative. One reader wrote to say that I was thinking like a Protestant and that my Catholic faith was at stake.

Is he right? I don’t think so. It is true that that there are teachings of the Church that I wrestle with. But I think that the many Catholics who find themselves in this position can still think about their doubts in a “Catholic way” that does not do damage to their communion with the Church.

The first thing that Catholics in my position need to remember is that the Church is not merely a collection of individual spiritual seekers. We are a community. A community that does not set some boundaries about what it believes and how it acts quickly ceases to be a community in any real sense of the term. It becomes a loose collection of individuals, incapable of common purpose. Legitimate inquiries as to whether some of the boundaries are too tight or too loose should not call into question the importance of boundary setting itself.

In religious communities, the boundaries are established by those in authority and the importance of authority grows the farther in time one gets from the original revelation. Christians today are 2,000 years removed from the Christ event. What assurance do we have that anything we believe about Jesus or the God He revealed is actually true? We can only trust in those who have handed the faith on to us, as they in turn trusted those who handed it on to them. Without some baseline, irreducible level of trust in the authority of our community, the Christian project quickly collapses.

Authority also exists for the sake of the individual, not merely the community as a whole. Most religious traditions—not merely Catholicism—teach that a willingness to submit to authority is necessary for growth in the spiritual life. Submission to authority means that I am willing to be “authored” by others, to be held accountable by my community, to have their story (which I believe to be God’s story) become my story. It means that I want to say “yes” before I dare to say “no.”

In the Catholic community, the Pope and the Bishops have been given a special responsibility to safeguard the faith that has been received from those who came before us and to pass it intact to those who will come after us. It is they who determine—after consultation with each other, theologians, and the community as a whole—whether particular beliefs are practices are consistent with what the Catholic community has believed through the centuries. For a Catholic, submission to the teachings of these authorities is the ordinary and expected response.

But it is not the only possible response. There may be rare cases where an individual believer finds that he cannot, in good conscience, assent to something that has been proposed for belief. The gravity of such a response depends on the type of teaching involved, whether it is closer to the core of the faith (e.g. the divinity of Christ) or of a lesser stature.

What does it mean to have a “good conscience?” It means that the individual must strive, to the very best of his ability, to form his conscience correctly. Conscience should not be confused with an unreflective bias. In situations where a person finds his conscience in conflict with the teaching of the Church, he must be willing to subject his conscience to the same kind of critical scrutiny that he is applying to the teaching. He needs to consider whether his judgment is clouded by self-serving motives and whether he has the expertise to evaluate the teaching properly. A considerable amount of prayer, study, and reflection is necessary.

But in the end, I am not merely allowed, but required to follow my conscience. I am not permitted to assent to something that I truly believe to be false. This, too, is part of the Catholic tradition. Pope John Paul II put it well in his book Crossing the Threshold of Hope: “If a man is admonished by his conscience whose voice appears to him as unquestionably true—he must always listen to it. What is not permitted is that he culpably engage in error without trying to reach the truth.”

It will be up to God to judge whether I have formed my conscience well with respect to those teachings that I struggle with. I know that sometimes I roam fairly close to the boundaries of our community and, at times, even cross over. This realization causes me pain.

In those situations, it helps me to put aside—at least for a time— the intellectual work of conscience formation (which never ends) and simply place myself in God’s hands. I believe that wherever I am on my faith journey, it serves Him in some way. If He has led me to the margins, it may be because He wants me to be able to communicate with those who are beyond the margins. I cannot know for sure. He is the Author of my life and only He knows where the story will lead.

I do believe that faith is not some kind of metaphysical SAT test where we need to get all of the answers right in order for God to accept us. His love for us is gratuitous and (thankfully) not the result of any merit on our part. I know that my doctrinal failings pale in comparison to the many, many ways I have failed to live out the demands of the Gospel in my daily life. But I also know that God’s love for me endures and that He beckons me to continue the struggle anew. I need not be afraid.

Thinking like a Catholic? Like a Protestant? Like a Zoroastrian? You decide. Click
here or on the link on the upper right to weigh in.

posted by Peter Nixon 11:54 AM
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ARE YOU WITH ME OR AGAINST ME?: It’s not hard to get confused when reading the scriptures. In today’s reading from Mark’s gospel, Jesus says “whoever is not against us is for us.” But those of us familiar with the Gospels of Matthew (12:30) and Luke (11:23) probably remember Jesus saying “he who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.”

Situations like this are why it is dangerous to pull quotes from the Bible out of context and deploy them for rhetorical purposes. The context of the two quotes is very different.

In today’s reading from Mark, the disciples are concerned that a person who is not part of their community is casting out demons in Jesus’ name. Jesus tells them not to be concerned, because a person who calls on His name to perform mighty deeds cannot, at the same time, be opposed to him.

In Matthew and Luke, Jesus has just driven a demon out of a man, and is confronted by the Pharisees. They claim that it is only by the power of the Devil (Beelzebub) that Jesus is casting out demons. Jesus rebukes them, and says “he who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters. And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.”

If there is a common theme in the three passages, it is Jesus’ concern for the suffering. In Mark, Jesus tells his disciples not to prevent the man from healing those possessed by demons. In Matthew and Luke, Jesus seems angered that the Pharisees are more concerned about whether His healing has an ecclesiastical stamp of approval than its impact on the man who has been healed.

How often do we behave like the Pharisees or Jesus disciples? When a friend tells of an author who gives her great spiritual comfort, is our response “that’s wonderful” or do we say “is he Catholic?” Are we afraid to read the scriptures because “that’s a Protestant thing to do?” Do we gather or do we scatter? Something to think about.

posted by Peter Nixon 8:56 AM
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Tuesday, May 21, 2002
CATHOLIC BLOGWATCH: A busy week. Kathy Shaidle and Amy Wellborn have been conducting something of a stealth debate about the cultural composition of the pro-life movement. At the end of last week, Shaidle (who is sympathetic to the pro-life movement) posted a lengthy comment on the subject, which might be best summarized by this paragraph:

The trouble with the pro-life movement is image. As long as "pro-life" equals "attention-KMart-shoppers", "salad" made of green jello and marshmallows, SUVs, sensible shoes and 10 dollar hair-cuts—as long as it is something only icky old men and post-menopausal ladies care about (tell THAT one to Dr. Freud)—it will remain the political equivalent of lawn bowling. S-Q-U-A-R-E. If you don't like my ideas, please return to your regularly scheduled Mother Angelica programming.
While Welborn did not contest with Shaidle directly, she did post a rather long list of links to demonstrate that “Pro-Lifers are Feminists, Pro-Lifers are Libertarians, Pro-Lifers are Democrats, and so on. Click here for the complete list. Mark Shea also weighed in, calling Shaidle’s characterization “unfair” and “cheap,” to which Shaidle replied “unfair and cheap are my Confirmation names.”

I stirred up a little tempest of my own last week with my post on women’s ordination (scroll below). It so annoyed Catholic seminarian Steve Mattson that he started his own Blog (which is definitely worth reading by the way). Mattson accused me of thinking like a Protestant, which is fine with me as long as I can think like Stanley Hauerwas, Reinhold Niebuhr, or Paul Tillich.

In my mailbag post last Friday, I noted the comments that Louder Fenn and Veni Sancte Spiritus made. Integrity ponders what light John Paul II’s Christifideles Laici casts on this question. Kairos has a reflection on this issue that is much deeper and theologically well grounded than my own (yes, yes, I know, ‘wouldn’t be hard’), so I commend it to you. John Schultz over at Catholic Light has a comment on Ordinatio Sacerdotalis and Veritas weighs in with a discussion about the obedience of faith. Eve Tushnet wonders whether my position would undermine any argument for a Church teaching that is based on authority.

There also seems to be a fair amount of Catholic Blogger commentary on the new Star Wars movie and, of course, lots and lots of posting on the scandal. Too much to summarize here. I leave you to discover other riches on your own.

posted by Peter Nixon 1:13 PM
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SERVANT OF ALL: There are three discernible ‘movements’ to today’s gospel. In the first, Jesus is speaking to His disciples about the future, telling them how the “Son of Man” will be killed, but will rise on the third day. In the second, Jesus’ disciples are arguing about which of them is the greatest. Jesus rebukes them, saying “if anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” Finally, Jesus takes a child and places it in the midst of the disciples, saying “whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me.”

Jesus’ use of a child to illustrate His point highlights an important truth. Children have a way of reordering our priorities. Our single-minded pursuit of a corner-office job gradually gives way to a more balanced life. Rather than spending what we earn as soon as we earn it, we begin to save and to plan for the future. We find ourselves thinking more about schools, libraries, parks and other aspects of the common weal. Of necessity, children draw us out of ourselves. Parenting can be a path—although it is not the only path—to holiness.

But this change does not come without cost. It involves a certain dying to self. Couples used to being relatively footloose before children suddenly find themselves constrained by the demands those children make. It is not easy to find oneself suddenly the ‘servant of all,’ or at least of small group of toddlers and pre-schoolers! The change often puts a considerable strain on the individual parents and on their marriage. But those who have made the transition successfully tend to find that their lives are psychologically and spiritually richer as a result.

posted by Peter Nixon 9:05 AM
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Monday, May 20, 2002
CATHOLIC PRESS ROUNDUP: The new issue of America has been posted (subscription to the print edition required for access. This week’s editorial and an article by Cardinal Mahony discuss the June meeting of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. Both endorse the position that all allegations of sexual abuse of a minor should be reported to the police and that no priest guilty of abuse should be in priestly ministry.

Both the National Catholic Register and Our Sunday Visitor have posted a story on John Paul II’s recent apostolic letter on the sacrament of reconciliation, Misericordia Dei. The intent of the letter was to clarify restrictions on the use of “general absolution,” where a priest confers absolution on a number of penitents at once without each one confessing their sins individually. The Register also has an interesting article on the efforts of Catholics and others to combat human trafficking in Southeast Asia, where thousands of women and girls are sold into sexual slavery every year.

The cover story in this week’s National Catholic Reporter is entitled “What the Bishops Knew and When They Knew It.” It focuses on a report (available at the NCR web site) that was distributed to the Bishops in 1985 that laid out what was known about the problem of clerical sexual abuse and offering some recommendations for action. There is also a column about the struggles of openly gay religious in light of the current crisis.

The British Catholic magazine The Tablet has an interesting article that compares the new Anglican Archbishop of Sidney, Dr. Peter Jensen, and his Catholic counterpart, Archbishop George Pell. The two men could not be farther apart theologically. Jensen is an unapologetic Reformation Protestant whose brother is an anti-Catholic propagandist. Pell is an enthusiast of the Counter-Reformation. But both men strongly oppose liberalism and secularism and profess admiration for one another. The author, a Reformation historian, questions whether either man has an adequate understanding of this period in British history.

This week’s Tidings has a number of interesting articles, including a piece that discusses the debate about whether there is a link between abortion and breast cancer. Some studies do show such a link, but others do not and the issue is mired in political and methodological controversy. There is also a story about a program that provides buses so that children of imprisoned mothers can visit them. Fr. Ron Rolheiser’s column challenges us to think about God in both masculine and feminine terms.

The June issue of U.S. Catholic has been posted and focuses on the clerical sexual abuse crisis. The cover story recounts the stories of a number of victims of clerical sexual abuse. There is also an interview with Fr. Donald Cozzens, author of The Changing Face of the Priesthood.

posted by Peter Nixon 12:35 PM
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I DO BELIEVE, HELP MY UNBELIEF: Starting today, we are back in the Gospel of Mark, the gospel that we are reading during Ordinary Time in this liturgical year. Today’s reading describes Jesus healing a man who has been possessed by a “mute spirit” since childhood.

Mark has a reputation as a terse writer, but he is particularly good at describing raw, physical suffering. The afflicted man’s father describes the impact of the spirit on his son: “it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid.” When the boy approaches Jesus, “the spirit immediately threw the boy into convulsions. As he fell to the ground, he began to roll around and foam at the mouth.”

The man’s father comes to Jesus because Jesus’ own disciples have been unable to cast out the demon. He approaches Jesus haltingly, “If you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” Jesus says that “everything is possible to one who has faith.” The reader can hear the father’s anguish in his reply: “I do believe, help my unbelief.”

I suspect that most of us understand the father’s emotion. We want to believe, but we wonder whether we can. There are many times when God seems absent and we begin to wonder if He is even there at all. Are we just kidding ourselves? Perhaps our prayer is merely an elaborate form of self-deception, a form of wish fulfillment. Perhaps we are alone after all.

Perhaps. But most of us, even the skeptics, don’t act as if that were true. Most of us still try to do the right thing, even when no one is looking. We’re inspired by stories of moral heroism and self-sacrifice and appalled by injustice and exploitation. When struggling with a decision, we hear the voice of conscience.

Where does that voice come from? What is its source? Perhaps it’s a belief in something, even if we wouldn’t call that something God, at least not yet. We need to grab hold of it and even if we can’t pray anything else, we can pray these words: “I do believe, help my unbelief.”

posted by Peter Nixon 8:59 AM
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Sunday, May 19, 2002
COME HOLY SPIRIT: I was out at the jail this morning. If you are interested in reading the reflection on the scriptures that I shared with the men, click here (it's a little long to post). If you're looking for a more professional touch, check out Father Shawn O'Neal's homily here.

Please pray for Jim, Mitchell, and especially for Bobby, who gets out on May 31st. Pray for all the men of the Marsh Creek Detention Facility, for all the incarcerated and their families and for all victims of crime and their families. Thanks.

posted by Peter Nixon 1:03 PM
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