Catholic News & Perspective

Editorial: A revolution of love

Editorial: A revolution of love

Two days after counterprotestors clashed with white nationalists at an “alt-right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, the Washington Post ran an article about the science behind racism. “Why are people still racist?” the headline asked. Two scientists, one a social psychologist and the other a psychology professor at New York University, hypothesized that the answer can be found in one’s environment. “People learn to be whatever their society and culture teaches them,” one said, adding later: “The only way to change bias is to change culture. You have to change what is acceptable in society.” The reasoning in itself is not unsound, but as people of faith, the culture change we seek is different from the one the two scientists envision. Our change is more revolutionary, going much deeper than the secularist goal of fostering a culture of inclusivity. Instead, our challenge is to foster a culture in which every person is able to flourish in accordance with his or her inherent dignity as one loved by God and created in his image — one in which individuals submit with joy to the will of God and love neighbors as themselves. This, we know, is easier said than done. But the forces catapulting us toward the crossroads of healing or death are real, and they’re not going away. Charlottesville is only the latest manifestation of that reality, one that carries within its folds the heavy weights of Paris, Brussels, Orlando, San Bernardino, Newtown, Charleston, Berlin, Nice, Boston, 9/11 and so many more sites of violence and unrest. Action is imperative, and as Christians, we must be the ones to offer the world the healing that is found in Jesus Christ. This healing begins with individuals. Take James Alex Fields Jr., the 20-year-old infatuated with Nazis and “alt-right” symbolism who drove a car into a crowd of people, killing one woman, on a day Charlottesville will never forget. He was seduced by the “answers” of a twisted ideology: power, supremacy, the worshipping of one’s race and self. But these are false idols. Would history have been changed were he to have worshipped Jesus Christ instead? Charlottesville is a reminder that each of us is called to spread the Gospel person by person. Ours is a message of hope for all, and sharing it can’t just come from the top down. It has to begin with us. This healing begins with our words. It’s may be a cliché, but it’s true: What we say matters. How we speak to and interact with others shapes who we are and influences those around us. This especially includes children, who pay attention to our every word and deed, and co-workers who know we are Christian and who are watching us to see just what that really means. Charlottesville reminds us that we must represent our faith well, and, as such, our words should lift up and never demean. This healing begins with looking at our neighbor and seeing not a color, hearing not an accent or knowing not a political viewpoint, but instead recognizing the individual’s humanity and God-given dignity. As the late Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago said in a 2001 pastoral letter on racism, “Loving only people who are just like ourselves, loving only those who are members of our biological family or who share our own ethnic or cultural background, our own political views or our own class assumptions, does not fulfill the challenge of the Gospel.” Our duty as Christians is to create a new beginning. To shun anger, fear, hatred, demeaning words, racism, terrorism, bigotry, death and instead to embrace the hope of the Gospel that is Jesus Christ. This is the challenge of our time, and each of us is called to respond. Editorial Board: Greg Willits, editorial director; Gretchen R. Crowe, editor-in-chief; Don Clemmer, managing editor read on

Letters to the Editor for May 14-20, 2017

Letters to the Editor for May 14-20, 2017

Science reflects natural truths, but those truths can be exploited Re: “Faith and science” (Editorial, May 7-13). I certainly am no scientist and did poorly in my science courses in high school and college, with the exception of biology, in which I was fairly competent. I agree that because a new human being comes into existence at the moment of conception/fertilization, that “it must follow that science should respect embryos as human beings.” However, the unfortunate reality in our culture is that there is no such mandate. My high school physics teacher, a Marianist religious brother, was very well-versed in the field, but he pointed out that while scientific knowledge was neutral, how it was implemented was not. He explained that technology could distort scientific facts and that such knowledge could be used in immoral ways. — Tim Donovan, via online comments First Commandment Re: “The Ten Commandments” (In Focus, March 26-April 1). A discussion of the First Commandment of God should have included the fact that more than 3 billion people on earth worship false gods. Having in mind that God “wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth” (1 Tm 2:4), one finds it difficult to understand how this great number of people could be saved. The death of Jesus Christ on the cross and of the martyred saints who roamed the world spreading the Gospel seem to have been stymied by the fact that people who worship false gods have increased. — Reynaldo O. Yana , Saipan Imprisonment Re: “Prison system” (Letters to the Editor, May 7-13). Thank you, Father Gordon J. MacRae, for advising us of this great tragedy. Although the entire story of imprisonment is somber, for myself, I appreciate that you’ve informed us of the great injustice of ICE deportation. Things are bad enough that people like you are being punished for pleading innocent, now this story of ICE. God help us. We are a confused nation who got even more confused when we kicked God out of schools. — Helen Tangradi, via online comment Witness of faith Re: “Model of joy and faith” (Taking Note, May 7-13). Thank you for writing such a beautiful tribute. I wish I had known her, but feel like I do just a little thanks to you. — Angela Pellerano , via online comment Divine Mercy Re: “‘Jesus, I trust in you’: Stories of Divine Mercy” (In Focus, April 23-29). I was blessed by an uplifting confessor on Mercy Sunday in Dayton, Ohio, and would like to thank him and all of our priests. — Michael McCready , via email Top-Viewed Articles The most popular stories on OSV.com this week included: 1. Faith-filled business leaders witness to success (News Analysis, May 7-13) 2. Model of joy and faith (Taking Note, May 7-13) 3. The meaning of Fatima: 100 years later (In Focus, Jan. 1-7) 4. Do animals go to heaven? (News Analysis, Jan. 4, 2015) 5. Young people are leaving the Faith. Here’s why (In Focus, Aug. 28, 2016) 6. What every Catholic needs to know about funerals (In Focus, Oct. 9, 2011) 7. Figuring out God’s will for you right here, right now (Faith, April 30-May 6) 8. Top 10 Catholic cities, USA (In Focus, June 2, 2013) 9. Katharine Drexel shrine to close at year’s end (News Analysis, April 23-29) 10. Catholic scientists discuss faith’s role in work (News Analysis, May 7-13) read on

A real ratings killer

A real ratings killer

The Lifetime cable channel is one of the many bottom feeders hanging around the current television industry. Not a premium channel, it is a toss-in for cable subscribers, one of those myriad stations a couch potato usually surfs past between looking for the game and the news. The last Sunday of April, however, Lifetime launched a six-episode “dramedy” series, “Mary Kills People.” It’s hoping for attention. The show gives us one Mary Harris as a sharp-talking emergency room physician who, for a second job, kills the terminally ill for money. The going rate seems to be $10,000, which she splits with her wisecracking assistant, a cosmetic surgeon. The show tries to mix in with the drama what it perceives as a few ironic laughs, especially at the expense of the dying. In the premier, Mary shoots up a half-filled champagne flute with poison, then hands it over to the victim. He seems to be having second thoughts, but she reassures him, and he drinks it down. Then the fun begins. The victim’s wife comes home unexpectedly and begins calling for him. Mary and her partner make a dash for a quick balcony escape, then she rushes back in because she forgot the money. To her horror, she finds that her victim is still alive. She suffocates him with a pillow though he tries to protest that he has changed his mind. Our heroes leap from the balcony, crash-land and escape with the money. I fully expected the Roadrunner to then show up with a “beep-beep.” “Mary Kills People” is a horror on all levels, the only unifying theme being the blanket advocacy of what the show presents as the unquestionable good in helping the terminally ill kill themselves. “Doctors feel it is important for patients to choose their death,” Mary explains in one of her trite apologias, though she does wonder to her joke-cracking partner if he is “a compassionate doctor or a serial killer.” In a case of life imitating art, only weeks before “Mary Kills People” premiered, Donald Harvey was killed by a fellow inmate in the Toledo Correctional Institution in Ohio. Harvey was one of the most prolific murderers in U.S. history, killing at least 37 people, but likely many more as he thought the number was closer to 70. Most of his victims were hospital patients in Ohio and Kentucky where he worked over two decades. He killed those terminally ill or aged patients because he could and because he liked to kill them — it gave him a sense of power over life and death. Like Mary’s explanation for her work. Additionally, like those involved with “Mary Kills People,” he thought it was kind of funny. According to The New York Times story after his death, his co-workers gave him “nicknames like the Kiss of Death” and “joked about the number of patients who died while he was on duty. Mr. Harvey joined in the joking, and because his victims were old or in poor health, their deaths did not arouse much suspicion.” “Mary Kills People” is television gone evil. And, as evil so often does, it spreads its tentacles. Like what you’re reading? Subscribe now in print or digital . One of the lead advertisers on that first show was Domino’s Pizza. Founded by the devout and dynamic lay Catholic leader Tom Monaghan (he sold it in 1998), Domino’s was once boycotted by pro-abortion zealots because of Monaghan’s staunch support of pro-life causes. Now it’s shilling pies on a show killing the terminally ill for laughs and ratings. Lifetime itself is a subsidiary of A+E Networks, owned by the Hearst Corporation. And The Walt Disney Company. “When you wish upon a star ….” That’s entertainment. Robert P. Lockwood writes from Indiana. Follow him on Twitter @BobPLockwood . read on

Stemming the tide

Stemming the tide

It is a new day, and it dramatically is affecting the Catholic Church, along with other religious denominations. No end is in sight. Until now, a strong factor in very many Catholics’ religious lives was their attachment to a Catholic “culture.” Often, it involved family ties and heritage. Catholics tended to hold on to the Church because they were reared as Catholics by Catholic parents, likely attended Catholic schools and quite often viewed life from a Catholic perspective. Catholicism was part of their DNA. This is changing altogether, and the change is picking up speed. For example, look at two public figures recently in the news. Vice President Mike Pence is from a staunchly Catholic Irish-American family in Indiana, “Irish as Paddy’s pig.” He was an altar boy. He went to Catholic schools. Then, as a young man, he left the Catholic Church and became an evangelical Protestant. He has reared his children as Protestants. The new Supreme Court associate justice, Neal Gorsuch, comes from a Catholic background. He attended Catholic schools. Then, also in early adulthood, he left the Catholic Church. Until moving to Washington to serve on the Supreme Court, he was a member of an Episcopal congregation in Colorado. Without guessing about what is in these men’s hearts, it is a fact that they are two of very, very many people with similar experiences. Throughout the United States, men and women by the thousands, regardless of their Irish, or Italian, or Polish, or Spanish heritages, are leaving the Church. “Former Catholics” compose the second largest religious group in this country. Many other Americans still express association with the Catholic Church but irregularly if ever attend Mass and have views inconsistent with Church teaching. Almost always these are signs of the first steps out the door. The same thing occurred in the past when Catholic immigrants flooded into this country. Many fell away from the Church. (Our histories rarely tell this story.) What does it mean? American Catholicism in 50 years will be different. Catholics simply will not be as many as today. Catholicism will less visible. Catholic institutions will be fewer. Why? The children of today’s less than fervent Catholics, or of former Catholics, will not identify with the Church of their parents and grandparents. Look at other denominations. Most are losing ground precariously. In my home diocese of Nashville, Tennessee, two new Catholic parishes recently formed. Once, new Catholic parishes had to build facilities for their use, but these two new parishes in Nashville simply bought, and moved into, buildings sold by Protestant denominations with severely dwindling congregations. All this summons older American Catholics to awaken. Youth will no longer be satisfied with family tradition, or childhood attachments, or even with intellectual points, when it comes to religion. They will make their own decisions, very much moved by what they see as working. Like what you’re reading? Subscribe now in print or digital . Mature Catholics can have an influence, not always by theological argument, although Catholics must be able to explain our Church’s teaching, but if they display that being a faithful Catholic brings great rewards to lives and uplifts and beautifies human experience. Love and live the Faith. Love the Church. Pray that all humbly will hear God’s Holy Spirit. Five hundred years ago, St. Francis de Sales, a brilliant French bishop, said that Catholics could draw others to the Church, not by bitterness and demand, but by proving by their lives that Catholicism works. Msgr. Owen F. Campion is OSV’s chaplain. read on

Editorial: Cycle of nonviolence

Editorial: Cycle of nonviolence

Pope Francis’ trip to Egypt at the end of April, the 18th overseas trip of his pontificate, began under a cloud of violence and fear due to the Palm Sunday bombings of two Coptic Orthodox churches in the country three weeks earlier. The bombings naturally raised questions about the pope’s safety, and Vatican spokesman Greg Burke acknowledged these concerns. Tight security, he added, is a “new normal.” And so the pope characteristically pressed on with his visit, and in doing so, his trip to Egypt spoke volumes about how followers of Christ are called to respond to violence. In visiting with Coptic Christians and Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II just three weeks following the bombings that killed nearly 50 faithful and injured more than 100 others, Pope Francis was present with people in their mourning and suffering, but he also took the opportunity to build bridges of unity through the encounter. He signed a joint agreement with Pope Tawadros that each Church would recognize the other’s baptism, a significant move as the Coptic Orthodox had previously required new members, including baptized Catholics, to be baptized again. Related Reading Pope Francis preaches peace, unity in Egypt Pope Francis didn’t limit his bridge-building to other Christians. In his visit to al-Azhar University in Cairo, he dialogued with the country’s Sunni Muslim religious leaders, addressing root causes of the societal ills that led to the Palm Sunday attacks. In particular, he addressed the responsibility of all religious leaders to take the lead in stopping people from engaging in violence in the name of religion. “As religious leaders, we are called, therefore, to unmask the violence that masquerades as purported sanctity and is based more on the ‘absolutizing’ of selfishness than on authentic openness to the Absolute,” he said. “We have an obligation to denounce violations of human dignity and human rights, to expose attempts to justify every form of hatred in the name of religion and to condemn these attempts as idolatrous caricatures of God.” He noted that “it is of little or no use to raise our voices and run about to find weapons for our protection: What is needed today are peacemakers, not makers of arms; what is needed are peacemakers and not fomenters of conflict; firefighters and not arsonists; preachers of reconciliation and not instigators of destruction.” On the return flight to Rome, Pope Francis looked beyond violence in Egypt to the growing signs of conflict between the United States and North Korea. “I always call (for) resolving problems through the diplomatic path, negotiations,” because the future of humanity depends on it, the pope said. Like what you’re reading? Subscribe now in print or digital . In Pope Francis’ brief visit to Egypt, we saw him once again model with his actions what he so often tries to teach with his words. His response to violence is not to flee, or even stay away, but to draw nearer to those affected, engage them lovingly and invite all people, especially those from different backgrounds, into respectful dialogue and encounter with one another — all with an intentional focus toward preventing future violence. Francis knows this is the path to lasting peace — a path that would engender great potential if more Christians, as well as believers of other religious traditions, joined him. As the pope noted in his recent TED Talk, “Hope began with one ‘you.’ When there is an ‘us,’ there begins a revolution.” We can all pray and model with our hearts and actions the hope that this becomes another “new normal.” Editorial Board: Greg Willits, editorial director; Gretchen R. Crowe, editor-in-chief; Don Clemmer, managing editor read on

Coptic Christians

Coptic Christians

Coptic Christianity suddenly was in the headlines. It was good news at first. Pope Francis was planning to visit Egypt. He would meet Coptic Christians while there. Then, the news was bad. Terrorists bombed Coptic Christian churches on Palm Sunday, slaughtering many innocent people. These attacks on Coptic Orthodox churches in Egypt were horrendous in themselves, but they were only the most recent of many outrages that Coptic Christians have endured over the years. Who are the Coptic Christians? Christianity has been in Egypt since the days of the apostles. It is said that St. Mark the Evangelist, considered by some to have been an early disciple of Jesus who later was associated with St. Peter, went to Alexandria, still today a great city in Egypt, a Mediterranean seaport. Two millennia ago, it was the second most important city of the Roman Empire. Alexandria came to be, and is today, the center of Coptic Christianity. It is hard to believe, but within a few centuries after Christ, Coptic Christianity was the major religion in Egypt. It also had been taken to Ethiopia, where incidentally it still is the dominant religion. Then came the Arab Muslim sweep across North Africa. Many Christians converted, or were forced to convert, to Islam, but Coptic Christianity never died altogether. In the fifth century, the Coptic Christians severed their union with the papacy. About 300 years ago, a segment within Coptic Christianity restored this union, but the majority of Copts remained Orthodox, separated from Rome. The Coptic Orthodox title the head of their church the “pope.” Presently Pope Tawadros II is head of the Coptic Orthodox communion. Heading the Coptic Catholics is the patriarch of Alexandria, the diocese believed to have been founded by St. Mark, Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak. Aside from Alexandria, six other Coptic Catholic dioceses, or eparchies, are in Egypt. Obviously, Coptic Catholics believe all that other Catholics believe. Coptic Orthodox do not accept the authority of the bishop of Rome, but they celebrate seven sacraments. They believe that deacons, priests and bishops are ordained and are in a line that began with the apostles. They believe that the Lord is present, body, blood, soul and divinity, in the Eucharist. In several other matters, however, they differ from Roman Catholic teaching. For both Coptic Catholics and Catholic Orthodox, the liturgy is in Coptic, the ancient language of Egypt, and from the language, their religious tradition draws its name. Like what you’re reading? Subscribe now in print or digital . For almost a millennium and a half, Coptic Christians, Coptic Catholics and Coptic Orthodox, have had a hard way to go. For a while, Britain dominated Egypt, and Christians were in a more protected situation. Since Egypt attained full independence, in living memory, Christians have lived through days of peace but also through many days of persecution or at least harassment. The turmoil that has existed in Egypt for the past several years hardly has helped the situation. Coptic Catholic parishes exist in the United States in Boston, Brooklyn, Los Angeles and Nashville. They are responsible to Patriarch Sidrak, not to the local bishop of the Latin rite. Recently, as unrest has intensified in the Middle East, and especially in Egypt, more Coptic Christians, both Catholic and Orthodox, have come to the United States. Not surprisingly, many Egyptian Christians worry about the future. The future of this pattern is unclear, as it is not known how, or if, the Trump Administration will handle such immigration. Msgr. Owen F. Campion is OSV’s chaplain. read on

The Benefits of Reconciliation

Category 22 (Reconciliation) – The Benefits of Reconciliation, The Hidden Treasure that is Confession Click here to read it now. read on

The gift of aligning one’s self with Christ’s suffering

The gift of aligning one’s self with Christ’s suffering

A little less than halfway through my pregnancy, a reader wrote me a delightful note saying something to the effect of, “Oh, the joys of being pregnant during Advent!” And she was right. When I was 20 weeks along, with my baby just starting to show and the flutterings of new life just beginning to be made known inside me, I found myself thinking often of the Blessed Mother, trying to align my wonderings with hers and to conform my appreciation of the miracle of life with her. It was a beautiful time and, the reader was absolutely correct, a complete joy. Since then, however, four months have passed, and I am beginning to be able to relate pregnancy with our current liturgical season of Lent. This isn’t to say that the wonderings and the appreciation are gone. Far from it. Every day I am awed by the growing miracle of life that is happening inside my body. It is a blessing and a gift, beyond any I could have ever imagined — even already. But I’m finding that the journey, now so close to being over, is less represented by gentle Advent wonderings and instead is more in tune with the Way of the Cross. I’m breathing a little heavier these days, unable to sing as loudly or as much as I usually like. Walking down the halls at work, sometimes I wish I had a scooter. Everything hurts a little more. Everything is a little harder to accomplish. Everything makes me that much more inclined to take a mid-afternoon nap. Even in trying not to grumble, I find myself doing a little extra whining these days. I feel especially bad about this given the fact that I am, in essence, a Lenten failure this year. My commitment to daily Mass has floundered, with my attendance at less than 50 percent. Since eating is my second job these days, I opted out of sacrificing any type of food this year (whether nourishing or not). My prayer life has been erratic and distracted. (“Hail Mary, full of grace, I should really get that hospital bag packed,” for example.) Enter my husband, for whom I am perpetually grateful. His commitment to Evening Prayer during Lent for the both of us has kept me somewhat focused — or at least somewhat attuned to the fact that, yes, we actually are in the season of Lent. Despite these failures, I suppose this means that there is an even greater opportunity for me to attempt to find holiness during Palm Sunday and Holy Week this year. To be able to align my insignificant aches and pains of this season of life with Jesus’ suffering on the cross is a great gift, one of which should be taken advantage. Our sacrifices are nothing compared to his. Suffering is never easy. It’s never what we would choose. But that’s why it’s so powerful. And it’s why the rewards are so great — be they sanctification, salvation or the miracle of welcoming new life into the world. For that, I’ll take the aches and pains any day. feedback@osv.com read on

The gift of aligning one’s self with Christ’s suffering

The gift of aligning one’s self with Christ’s suffering

A little less than halfway through my pregnancy, a reader wrote me a delightful note saying something to the effect of, “Oh, the joys of being pregnant during Advent!” And she was right. When I was 20 weeks along, with my baby just starting to show and the flutterings of new life just beginning to be made known inside me, I found myself thinking often of the Blessed Mother, trying to align my wonderings with hers and to conform my appreciation of the miracle of life with her. It was a beautiful time and, the reader was absolutely correct, a complete joy. Since then, however, four months have passed, and I am beginning to be able to relate pregnancy with our current liturgical season of Lent. This isn’t to say that the wonderings and the appreciation are gone. Far from it. Every day I am awed by the growing miracle of life that is happening inside my body. It is a blessing and a gift, beyond any I could have ever imagined — even already. But I’m finding that the journey, now so close to being over, is less represented by gentle Advent wonderings and instead is more in tune with the Way of the Cross. I’m breathing a little heavier these days, unable to sing as loudly or as much as I usually like. Walking down the halls at work, sometimes I wish I had a scooter. Everything hurts a little more. Everything is a little harder to accomplish. Everything makes me that much more inclined to take a mid-afternoon nap. Even in trying not to grumble, I find myself doing a little extra whining these days. I feel especially bad about this given the fact that I am, in essence, a Lenten failure this year. My commitment to daily Mass has floundered, with my attendance at less than 50 percent. Since eating is my second job these days, I opted out of sacrificing any type of food this year (whether nourishing or not). My prayer life has been erratic and distracted. (“Hail Mary, full of grace, I should really get that hospital bag packed,” for example.) Enter my husband, for whom I am perpetually grateful. His commitment to Evening Prayer during Lent for the both of us has kept me somewhat focused — or at least somewhat attuned to the fact that, yes, we actually are in the season of Lent. Despite these failures, I suppose this means that there is an even greater opportunity for me to attempt to find holiness during Palm Sunday and Holy Week this year. To be able to align my insignificant aches and pains of this season of life with Jesus’ suffering on the cross is a great gift, one of which should be taken advantage. Our sacrifices are nothing compared to his. Suffering is never easy. It’s never what we would choose. But that’s why it’s so powerful. And it’s why the rewards are so great — be they sanctification, salvation or the miracle of welcoming new life into the world. For that, I’ll take the aches and pains any day. feedback@osv.com read on

Opening the Word: The suffering servant

Opening the Word: The suffering servant

Jesus does not die a happy death. Having proclaimed the Passion this week, we know. We know about the sufferings that he enduredupon the cross. We know about the plot, made by a friend, to put him to death. But how often do we consider the loneliness of Jesus upon the cross? In the Gospel of Matthew, every disciple has gone missing. Every person has left. Peter, the one who proclaimed Jesus as Messiah, as Lord, as the Savior of the world, then denies him: “I do not know the man” (Mt 26:72). APRIL 9, 2017 PALM SUNDAY OF THE LORD’S PASSION IS 50:4-7 PS 22:8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24 PHIL 2:6-11 MT 26:14-27:66 James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who asked for a privileged place in Jesus’ kingdom. Gone. The rabbled crowd, who longed for signs and wonders, are not present even though it was they who cried out, “Let him be crucified!” (Mt 27:22). Not one person who could be just was just. Not one person who could love did love: “…darkness came over the whole land” (Mt 27:45). Yet, all these moments of loneliness, of darkness, of desolation pale in comparison to the Son’s experience of abandonment by the Father. At his baptism in the river Jordan, the Father proclaims the belovedness of the Son. At his transfiguration on Mount Tabor, the Father speaks, once again, reminding us to give our wills over to the beloved Son of the Father. But now as Jesus dies upon the cross, there is nothing but the solitary voice of the Word made flesh: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mt 27:46). Of course, we know that our Lord is quoting from Psalm 22. We know that this is a lament psalm that does not end with sorrow, with pain, but with hope. Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death. And we know the reason for hope. But on this Sunday, on this Passion Sunday, during this Holy Week, let’s not pass over the lament too quickly. Jesus Christ is the suffering servant, the one who emptied himself completely out of his love. On his body is laid the sins of the world, all the darkness that we human beings could throw at him. The darkness of a political order that didn’t care to be just. The darkness of his fellow Israelites, who did not recognize him. The darkness of his disciples who could not remain. The silence of the Father in the midst of the suffering of the Son is a sign of this darkness. Jesus takes on the fullness of the human condition. He knows the suffering of life and death, the bitter silence encountered by the just man who keeps the law out of love. If Jesus did not know the terrors of this silence, the sorrow of this sin, the pain of loneliness, he would not have taken up the fullness of the human condition. The full condition of the just, who love unto the end, but are rejected by an age grown cold. “And behold, the veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth quaked, rocks were split, tombs were opened, and the bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep were raised” (Mt 27:51-53). Even now in the midst of suffering and death, loneliness and sorrow, God speaks a word. The Father has spoken the definitive word in his Son. The definitive word of love. The final word. “‘Truly, this was the son of God’” (Mt 27:54). Timothy P. O’Malley is the director of the Notre Dame Center for Liturgy. read on