One of the great mysteries to to believer and non-believer alike is the mystery of evil and suffering.  If there is a God who is omnipotent and omniscient how can he tolerate evil, injustice, and suffering of the innocent? Where was God yesterday when the shootings in Connecticut occurred?  Where is God when a young girl is raped, when genocide is committed, when evil men hatch their plots? Why Did God even conceive the evil ones, and let them be born?

The problem of evil cannot be simply answered. It is a mystery. It’s purpose and why God permits it are caught up in our limited vision and understanding. The scriptures say how “all things work together for the good of those who love and trust the Lord and are called according to his purposes.” But how this is so is difficult for us to see in many circumstances.

Anyone who have ever suffered tragic and senseless loss or observed the disproportionate suffering that some must endure cannot help but ask, why? And the answers aren’t all that satisfying to many for suffering is ultimately mysterious in many ways.

I have some respect for those who struggle to believe in the wake of tragedy. I do not share their struggle but I understand and respect its depths and the dignity of the question. At the end of the trail of questions, often asked in anguish, is God who has not chosen to supply simple answers. Perhaps if he were our simple minds could not comprehend them anyway. We are left simply to decide, often in the face of great evil and puzzling suffering, that God exists or not.

As in the days of Job, we cry out for answers but little is forthcoming. In the Book of Job, God speaks from a whirlwind and He questions Job’s ability to even ask the right questions, let alone venture and answer to the problem and presence of evil and suffering. If He were to explain, it seems all that we would hear would be thunder. In the end he is God and we are not. This must be enough and we must look to the reward that awaits the faithful with trust.

Perhaps the most perplexing aspect of suffering is its uneven distribution. In America we suffer little in comparison to many other parts of the world. Further, even here, some skate through life strong and sleek, wealthy and well fed. Others endure suffering, crippling disease, inexplicable and sudden losses, financial setbacks, and burdens.

It is a true fact that a lot of our suffering comes from bad choices, substance abuse and lack of self-control. But some suffering seems unrelated to any of this.

And the most difficult suffering to accept is that caused on the innocent by third parties who seem to suffer no penalty. Parents who mistreat or neglect their children, the poor who are exploited and used, caught in schemes others have made, perhaps it is corrupt governments, perhaps unscrupulous industries, or crazed killers.

Suffering is hard to explain or accept simply. I think this just has to be admitted. Simple slogans and quick answers are seldom sufficient in the face of great evil and suffering. Perhaps when interacting with an atheist of this third kind, sympathy, understanding and a call to humility goes farther than forceful rebuttal.

A respectful exposition of the Christian understanding of evil might include some of the following points. Note, these are not explanations per se (for suffering is a great mystery) and they are humble for they admit of their own limits.

  1. The Scriptures teach that God created a world that was as a paradise. Though we only get a brief glimpse of it, it seems clear that death and suffering were not part of the garden.
  2. But even there the serpent coiled from the branch of a tree called the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and EVIL. So even in paradise the mystery of evil lurked in minimal form.
  3. In a way the tree and the serpent had to be there. For we were made to love. And love requires freedom and freedom requires choices. The Yes of love must permit of the No of sin. In our rebellious “no” both we and the world unraveled, death and chaos entered in. Paradise was lost and a far more hostile and unpredictable world remained. From this fact came all of the suffering and evil we endure. Our sins alone cause an enormous amount of suffering on this earth, by my reckoning that vast majority of it. Of the suffering caused by natural phenomenon this too is linked to sin, Original Sin, wherein we preferred to reign in a hellish imitation rather than serve in the real paradise.
  4. This link of evil and suffering to human freedom also explains God’s usual non-intervention in evil matters. Were God to do so routinely, it would  make an abstraction of human freedom and thus removes a central pillar of love. But here too there is mystery for the scriptures frequently recount how God does intervene to put an end to evil plots, to turn back wars, shorten famines and plagues. Why does he sometimes intervene and sometimes not? Why do prayers of deliverance sometimes get answered and sometimes not? Here too there is a mystery of providence.
  5. The lengthiest Biblical treatise on suffering is the Book of Job and there God shows an almost shocking lack of sympathy for Job’s questions and sets a lengthy foundation for the conclusion that the mind of man is simply incapable of seeing into the depths of this problem. God saw fit that Job’s faith be tested and strengthened. But in the end Job is restored and re-established with even greater blessings in a kind of foretaste of what is meant by heaven.
  6. The First Letter of Peter also explains suffering in this way: In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:6-7) In other words, our sufferings purify and prepare us to meet God.
  7. Does this mean that those who suffer more need more purification? Not necessarily. It could also mean that a greater glory is waiting for them. For the Scriptures teach Therefore, we are not discouraged; rather, although our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison(2 Cor 4:16-17) Hence suffering “produces” glory in the world to come. With this insight, those who suffer more, but with faith, will have greater glory in the world to come.
  8. Regarding the apparent injustice of uneven suffering it will be noted that the Scriptures teach of a great reversal wherein many who are last shall be first (Mat 20:16), where the mighty will be cast down and the lowly exulted, where the rich will go away empty and poor be filled. (Luke 1:52-53) In this sense it is not necessarily an blessing to rich and well fed, unaccustomed to any suffering. For in the great reversal the first will be last. The only chance the rich and well healed have to avoid this is to be generous and kind to the poor and those who suffer (1 Tim:6:17-18).
  9. Finally, as to God’s apparent insensitivity to suffering, we can only point to Christ who did not exempt himself from the suffering we chose by leaving Eden. He suffered mightily and unjustly but also showed that this would be a way home to paradise.

To these points I am sure you will add. But be careful with the problem of evil and suffering. It has mysterious dimensions which must be respected. Simple answers may not help those who struggle with the problem of suffering and evil. Understanding and an exposition that shows forth the Christian struggle to come to grips with this may be the best way. The “answer” of scripture requires faith but the answer appeals to reason,  and calls us to humility before a great mystery of which we see only a little. The appeal to humility before a mystery may command greater respect from an atheist of this sort than pat answers which may tend to alienate.

47 Responses

  1. TaillerHuws says:

    Love allows choice, and choice ultimately loves or hurts us. Because we can choose, we can love and be loved. The opposite is possible as well. But God does not desire evil for us.

    God does not leave the sufferer; He collects the suffering precisely that He may convert it, in good time, to joy. God is a healer and lover. He came to heal, and He is with us to heal us and love us in the midst of a world gone awry.

  2. Maria says:

    My friend said to me

    ” America is such a sinful country, they have turned their backs on God. How can they ask for His help when they say they don’t believe in Him anymore or need Him”"

    As dreadful as it sounds. after all that has transpired in the election and America’s apostacy . my friend is right to a very great degree. Obama was so well prepared to deliver the tears for the world to see for the 20 little children who were murdered BUT not a tear for the millions that he signed away to be aborted/murdered. It is hypocrisy on an unbelievable level. The USA needs a miracle as does the rest of the world to change and live accordingly to what Heaven always desired for their children. God have mercy on us all. Amen.

    • Steve M says:

      Maria:
      I am way far from being a fan of the President but

      We are a sinful nation but we all are sinful. The President did what he supposed to do be our leader and speak for the nation. Let’s not throw stones today but pray that everyone “goes and sins no more” and then focus on the families and children. I watched a clip of a little girl who was so embarrased to talk about her classmates getting sick to their stomachs from the fear that she was whispering that part. Maybe that is a miracle that she so far has retained some innocence in this horrow and we pray to Our Father that she can hold onto it.

      • Maria says:

        America has been duped by Satan enormously:

        guns, music, freedom that is distorted, vanity, pride, cockiness. arrogance, selfishness,music, film and all communications and on and on and on…..SIN by choice. Truly the church has been involved in the nation’s downfall too.

        The innocent are reaping the fruits NOW, This is all a result of NO GOD, this is what happened. IEvents like Newtown have sadly become the norm now because there is no one BUT God himself who could purify such a nation of iniquity.

        The nation’s leaders are a joke and CANNOT be trusted, The master they serve is NOT God .

    • Yes, many children suffer, but a I not sure this is a time to engage the president who did what should be done here. Would that we all saw all of our children whether in utero or out as precious. We harm our children in so many ways through abortion, fornication and intentional single motherhood/absent fatherhood, divorce, exposing them to pornography and things that harm their innocence, violence, abuse, poor schooling, indoctrination and on and on and on. It is a terrible time to be a child in our culture. If one is not outright killed in the womb, so often they are born into irregular situations and exposed to the endless bad behavior of adults at every level. Increasingly rare are the children who live in anything resembling the loving two-parent mother and father family that they deserve, who provide them a time of innocence to develop virtue and experience the love of God.

      • TaillerHuws says:

        Yes. President Obama, like the rest of us, has a heart, a capacity for compassion, a capacity to learn wisdom, and a desire to do good for the sake of what is truly good for America. This is more a time to embrace and help the President heal our nation’s woes – both in the nearterm and in the longrun.

        In hope, I can imagine him saying:

        “People! What do you want me to do?! I’m sorry – truly sorry – and I can not express fully what I am feeling and my own insecurities about some of the policies I have supported which have not respected all children in all stages of life. What can I do to make it better? How can I also help save the children who are under attack in so very many ways in our country? I do not want to see this happen again. What can I do America? God help me. What can I do?”

        His is an extremely difficult task right now. He is torn and perhaps a bit confused I think. We need to pray for God to help him re-direct our nation for the sake of our current and future generations of children. He can certainly do it. He can make a huge difference in his last term with the help of, trust in, and dependence upon God. Our children are our future, regardless of their stage in life.

        His tears have much meaning – reveal a truth of the identity underneath the facade of some of the common, misleading Democratic political ideals. I hope that identity – the one which cries for love of the “innocents” – stands up and takes charge in a special way moving forward to help reverse the anti-life moral woes of America. And I hope that if he does that, he will be remembered with honor.

        • Maria says:

          I think it was Pius X who said
          “KINDNESS is for fools”

          Your warm and fuzzy self assuring attitude won’t change Obama’s mind on the abominable laws he is allowing the future generations to have! WAKE UP!

          America really needs to do PENANCE

          • TaillerHuws says:

            Dear Maria – neither will your attitude squelch my hope for a miracle. I hope that you will take some more time to meditate on God’s presence and His power to affect the good.

          • TaillerHuws says:

            Finally, dear Maria, I am not aware that any Pope ever defined, as a matter of faith and morals to be held by all of the Faithful, that “kindness is for fools.” I think that it would contradict Jesus Christ Himself who was actually very kind to many who did not merit His kindness. It was Jesus Christ, who in his kindness to the “good thief” who hung on a cross next to His own, said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” This “good thief,” during the last hours of his own life, turned and was kind to Jesus, and Jesus pardoned him.

            And so, it is possible for President Obama to turn and do good also, and be beloved of the Lord.

            We have a choice: we can tear down the President in his sorrow for the loss of innocent life OR we can encourage him to know that his emotions are appropriate and show that the lives of children at every stage should be protected.

        • Jan says:

          I’m with Maria on this, guys. I’m taking the liberty of a broad presumption that she and I are on the same page when criticizing the President, not because he shed tears, per se, but because with everything we know about the man, including Maria’s reference to signing the abortion bills, those tears seem phony and convenient.

          Of course the man has a heart – he is a human being and God loves him as much as He loves those little ones who were shot and their shooter, as well. But allow us our normal skepticism.

          • Steve M says:

            Skepticism is fine. For all of us yesterday was a horrific tragedy obviously more so for the failies directly impacted. My point was mving from skepticism to outright hatred. Not sure the context of “Kindness is for fools” but you will have to put me on the fool list. I pray that the President was moved enough by the events yesterday that he mes ot understand that the violent death of these children differs little than the violent death of so many babies from abortion. I pray God helps us to find the good out of this tragedy. You will have to forgive me for accepting that his tears were genuine yesterday. Most days the President is not sincere but I think he spoke for most Americans that our hearts are broken. Skepticism can quickly become cynicism and then we forget to see the other as God’s weak creature just like ourselves.

            • Jan says:

              Steve M – my comment above was in reference only to Maria’s 5:07 a.m. post. Of course you are correct about the ease with which a skeptic can become a cynic. I really don’t like thinking the worst about any individual and it is, frankly, awful to feel that way about the President of our nation.

              His handlers/manipulators now have sufficient ammunition to use to assure that he sign some kind of comprehensive weapons ban into law, and he will be put under such pressure by them that he won’t be able to refuse. Not that he’d want to.

      • Ferde Rombola says:

        Msgr. Pope, you have described the problem(s) accurately, but have offered no solutions. For the past 50 years the Church, and religion generally, has gradually been pushed out of the public square by the heathens of our society, led by the ACLU. They are being led today by our President who, in deference to the homsexual lobby, is trying to destroy the Catholic Church. He is not our friend and it’s time we all stopped trying to be nice and started being angry.

        It is touching that the President is grieving over the unspeakable tragedy of yesterday. I wonder if he understands his part in it. After all, if you’re pushing Christ out of the room, what are you doing but making room for Satan, whose presence I see in the face of the unfortunate boy he enlisted to commit that unspeakable crime. Where was God? Wherever the President and other like-minded people sent Him.

        It’s time our bishop got angry, too. It’s time they said ENOUGH!! and demanded that Hollywood and the advertising industry stop, or be made to stop polluting our lives with the filth they produce. It’s time to demand that the President fulfilled his oath of office and defended the FREE exercise of religion instead of trying to erase that clause from the First Amendment. It’s time to demand that everyone who calls him or herself a Catholic, actually BE a Catholic or become an Episcopalian.

        It’s time our bishops began to teach and defend the entire Gospel message, not just the Sermon on the Mount. There are solutions. One is to ask our bishops to evengalize themselves if they have any hope to evangelize a wayward Catholic laity. THey can start by doing what they have thus far lacked the courage to do.

        Shortly after he was named Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Wuerl said he cannot tell Catholic politicians who support abortion rights not to receive Holy Communion in Washington because he is not their bishop. That statement was presented to Cardinal Arinze, who said, “If it should not be received, it should not be given.” In the Archdiocese of Washington, Cardinal Wuerl is the bishop of the priests who act in persona cristi at the altar. He is the bishop of all who distribute the Sacrement to the faithful and it is in his churches where the Sacrament is received. He has the authority, and the obligation to tell his priests and ministers they are not to give Communion to Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden or any other Catholic politician who supports abortion rights anywhere in the Archdiocese of Washington. Isn’t it time Cardinal Wuerl stopped hiding behind a weak excuse and did what he knows he should do? Isn’t it time we asked that of all our bishops? Sometimes I ask myself if these guys really believe in God. They seem to think he doesn’t see what they’re doing and not doing. They seem to think He doesn’t care.

        For openers, please speak to your bishop, Msgr. Pope.

    • edracruz says:

      Same here, Maria, I even thought he had crocodile tears. Am with you on this grand show of hypocrisy. Well, we just pray for peace. But as Blessed Mother Teresa of Kolkata said ‘how can a nation expect peace when the very innocent lives in the womb, where a child should have peace, be murdered by his very own mother.’ Something to that effect. Tsk, tsk, tsk. Out of the depths, I cry unto you, oh GOD.

    • Antonio A. Badilla says:

      Obama was so well prepared to deliver the tears for the world to see for the 20 little children who were murdered BUT not a tear for the millions that he signed away to be aborted/murdered. It is hypocrisy on an unbelievable level.

      I don’t care for Obama and like you, feel the President is indeed hypocritical. Having said or written that, I must say he was being sincere, this time, in his reaction to the tragedy. I happen to believe the President like many others don’t see the connection between born children who suffer evil and unborn children in the womb who are destroyed in the name of a supposed right to privacy.

  3. roberto konzalez says:

    Suffering is the great sign of the error of disobedience.
    It reminds us daily that disunion with God is a scar on the universe.
    Praise be that He can draw good out of it.

  4. Anne Marie says:

    First of all Msgr. Charles Pope, from this Catholic who does live in CT, about forty minutes away from the horor of what happened in Newtown, CT I want to say many thank-yous for this excellent article.

    What this horrible and tragic incident says bigtime in that, we are not just is dealing with human flesh and blood, but also we are in the midst of a spiritual warfare between the forces of Heaven and the forces of Hell.

    Give eternal rest God to the souls of the children and adults who died yesterday in Newtown, CT as well as the dear ones who are in their own personal heartbreaks are left behind.

  5. Jamie Reynolds says:

    I was struck by the (reportedly) large number of people that went to churches for prayer services after this horrific tragedy. We are wired by God to come to Him in times like this, when there are no answers, there is no explanation. There is a strange comfort in the mystery of suffering…it must make sense to God, or it must presage later reward or joy.

  6. Anne says:

    Thank You! Your insights are challenging but humble. I have a niece who found her baby dead in his crib. Sadly those who tried to comfort her only succeeded in confusing her. “God needed another angel in heaven,” many said. But she said, “God has so many angels and I had this one little baby.” Some said, “He is in a better place now,” but she thought” What better place for a little baby than in his nursing mother’s arms?” And so it went on.
    Although well intentioned comments like these required her to smile and hide her thoughts over and over. It was and continues to be a terrible burden.
    Better to simply say, “Baby’s death is a mystery. Our faith tells us he is in Heaven. I love you and will be here for you to walk by your side through the fire and we can ask God together to be with you and sustain you.”

  7. EJ Jonna says:

    Thank you for your words, I am a father of four young children who attend a Catholic school, and also a theology teacher at a near-by Catholic high school.Ironically, I teach the problem of evil to my students, via St. Augustine’s theory; that a good should have been there by its very nature, but man has choosen through free will to allow that good (infinite love) to leave. Yes, I truly comprehend the theory, but at the same time when I hear of these terrible and ugly sins, evils actions, I become very angry, revengeful, and hurt. I truly believe that God can take that evil and turn it into a good, but how can one explain this to a grieving mother or father. Please pray and pray unceasingly for these families.Please pray a Chaplet of Divine Mercy for all involved and especially for the family members!

  8. Deacon Jimmy says:

    Thank you Msgr Pope for this explanation of suffering. Being a Deacon, I am being allowed to preach this weekend and have been working on a joyful, uplifting homily this time.
    Since yesterday, all that has changed because people have asked my, “WHY?!”
    “Why did he do this?”, “Why children?”, “Why so much killing and violence?” and yes, “Where was God at this moment?”
    I have been answering that I don’t know why, but I do know that God was there, He was not absent. He was there with the little souls who were killed, He was there with the grief of their parents and He is there now. I use the vision of Christ carrying His cross with purpose and humility.
    Earlier in the week, we had a Men’s Bible group and I was led to discuss Romans Chapter 5 with them.I focused on verses 3-5, “Not only that, but we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope,and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us.” There was much discussion on suffering and affliction and I wondered why I was led to bring this up, but there were several there who had undergone sufferings in their life and were able to share a lot about faith and the presence of God.
    Maybe this was all to prepare me for something, I don’t know. But your words have helped me immensely, and I thank you.
    As much as the Church is in trying times right now, maybe it is time to build endurance and character, so that we can never forget the Hope that lies within us. Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.

    God bless you and your congregation Msgr Pope,
    Deacon Jimmy in Houma

  9. bill bannon says:

    Excellent piece and you avoided dreaded ( by me) saccharine in noting the unevenness of suffering. One person in the third world loses his or her legs to a land mine at 7 years of age and is poor and unmarried til death and another person has perfect health and earns 20 million a year playing for the Knicks while having a family of their own who are also healthy. Only if we saw eternity as God sees it would we understand unevenness.

  10. Nate says:

    I think people struggle with this issue more today because they have been falsely led to believe that heaven can be achieved on earth at both a personal and societal level and it could just be achieved by one more purchase or one new law.

    Also, the media sensationalizes every tragedy to make things seem worse than they are and avoids discussion of facts that might reduce the dramatic effect. So now every minor hurricane is a superstorm and every murder is a shocking statement about America (when hurricanes are common and the murder rate is half what it used to be). We lack perspective in America because of our self-centered view of the world. Perhaps we would have better perspective on suffering if we had more exposure to the horrors that routinely occur around the world while we focus on entertainment.

    • Debbie says:

      nate,i love your answer,people struggle with this issue more today because they have been falsely led to believe that Heaven can be achieved on earth at both a personal and societal level and it could just be achieved by one more purchase or one more law.I never thought of it this way ,but your right.and so is the the rest of your article thank you for sharing God Bless You Debbie

  11. DonnaLynn says:

    Maybe it’s not about the suffering, but about how the rest of us respond to suffering. If God’s greatest commandments are to love God and to love neighbor, what better opportunity is there to obey those commandments if not in the midst of someone’s suffering? Is this not the challenge of being human?

    • Steve M says:

      Miracles are ahndy because God does all the work and makes everything right. Miracles need to be rare to be miraculous so we are left with whatyou say DonnaLynn. “Where is God in tragedy” he is in the teachers who pulled children to safety at their own risk. The people who ran to the sceen to help even in the reporters who bring this tragedy to the rest of us so we can reach out to those families.

  12. Greg says:

    This is an atrocity NOT a tragedy

  13. MPatrick says:

    Please, always remember that when we choose to cooperate with Satan to commit evil we do it with our free will. The angelic Intelligence of Satan is beyond human comprehension but it has no power over us if we stay in a state of grace through prayer and the sacraments. Evil is real as the nose on your face. The ultimate purpose of evil is to separate us from God. When an evil events occurs we must examine our own consciences to determine if Satan can use the event to turn us away from God. If we try to love God with all our heart with all our mind and with all our strength we will be ready to do His will in the face of Evil. What is His will? Ask Him daily for He will not give you a weekly plan but only a moment by moment plan….BUT you must ask if you want to receive! And don’t be flippant, you must ask Him, not your own mind, be careful. If you find yourself getting angry at Him then trust me….you don’t know Him! If that is the case now is the time to ask Him for His gift of Faith in the confessional. Of course many will say no to the confessional because they are afraid. Don’t be afraid!!! He wants to have you love Him more than anything or anyone else in your life! He stands ready to transform you into that person He designed you to be from the beginning of time. But He can’t make you love Him or it won’t be love….
    I will end with my friend and mentor Servant of God, Fr John A Hardon SJ ‘s advice to us living in this age:
    “Unless we recover the zeal and the spirit of the first century Christians — unless we are willing to do what they did and to pay the price that they paid, the future of our country, the days of America are numbered.”

  14. Lorraine says:

    Monsignor, thank you so much for writing this.

  15. edracruz says:

    Forgive us our trespassses as we forgive those who trespass against us. FATHER forgive them for they know not what they do. Let this words guide us in these moments of troubling and disturbing events. Requiescant in Pace, little children of GOD.

  16. Jim Ryland says:

    One of the less desirable effects of the early church spreading throughout the Roman Empire was the assimilation of pagan thought. Such will always hold true; the conqueror is as much changed by the conquered as the other way ’round.

    The Zeus-like concept of God, often held by many otherwise devout Christians, is a bit of a stretch from the mystical “I Am” of the Old Testament and the early church teachings. If you doubt the veracity, simply look at the Sistine Chapel.

    Our Divine Creator made a universe in which life would grow and we would have signposts on our journey to “know Him, love Him, and serve Him”. Few engineers would design an engine that needed to be “tinkered with” every few miles and Our Creator is so much wiser than they. This is a journey of growth and learning. Without the presence of evil, insanity, and the unexplicably cruel, there would be no teaching tools. That said, we also have a very narrow view of His mercy and divine compassion.

    One wonders why He was not content with the Angels and created man who had the choice of reaching back to his creator? Even Eden presented choices and we’re not much wiser now than were our proto-parents.

  17. GVLeon says:

    I am still at a loss as to why it happened. The one who gunned down his mother, then her class and some teachers, then himself. What pain or misery was he experiencing? A mere youth, at such a young age, to inflict such suffering, such fear in those innocent kids, the inexpressible loss of family, honor, safety. Why Lord? Why? I know you love us all, each and every one of us, but why? Will you stand with us now? Will you help us to pray?
    Yes, you will, you always do. It was a choice that was made by this young man to do what he did. He choose to inflict pain and sorrow and loss. You alone know his reasons, you alone know what will come of all of this. I want to pray more and hope for more hope, for more love, for more trust…for all of us here in America and in the world.
    I know you will give us hearts of flesh, new hearts to be open to life, to respect, to honor, to prayer. Yes, despite my loss of words over this evil, a call to conversion and to love of neighbor in the truest sense of the word but not as the world would have it but as you would have it.
    Have mercy on us all dear Lord. Send you sweet mother to comfort those who have lost a child, brother, sister, niece, nephew, grandchild, husband, wife.
    Amen

  18. ThirstforTruth says:

    Through this evil act, loved ones have been heart-wrenchingly separated. We must pray for Divine Mercy
    to intercede and not allow the evil one to further destroy by separating these most unfortunate people from
    their Saviour by loss of trust and faith in Our Creator. Pray the Divine Mercy chaplet so that this may not
    happen as a result of yesterday’s shooting. It is the time to renew our faith and trust in God and to do
    penance when those suffering the loss may not be able to do so.

  19. Remy says:

    This is supposed to be a discussion of suffering and of offering comfort to us all who suffer,(as all humans do suffer) but yet again the right wing political fanatics are trying to hijack this with their venom and ignorant hatred. To them I say, leave Obama and everyone else alone and take the plank out of your own eye before trying to take the speck out of anyone else’s!
    You have no right to judge ANYONE else:leave that to God!
    As for suffering it is hard to understand but God is good and loves us all and we are limited beings who cannot comprehend the universe as God does.

    • Maria says:

      There is NO judgement here but instead DISCERNMENT.
      America was once admired now it is pitied- and we have allowed it to happen-
      God loves each and everyone of all those affected by this wicked moment,

      Satan thinks he has won because he loves the beast like death of the innocent little children….well far from victory is that monster,,,
      God the Father is the omnipotent and supreme Creator who has THOSE PRECIOUS souls in His loving care. Remind ourselves constantly of this,

      In HIS CARE

      • Maria says:

        Remy.
        left right upside down north or south far right left or whatever —you catchphrased abortion- like all the indoctrinated sheep do. It’s a method and teachnique to get off the topic that must be ADDRESSED NOW.

        MURDER IS MURDER and more heinous than the unborn and defenceless child being slaughtered and chucked in the GARBAGE!!— is allowing it to happen, let alone hide behind the veneer of doing us all a giant favour.
        . Do you realise how FRUITLESS it is to promote -in such a decisive issue as abortion, the direction of someone’;s philosophy. We are talking about killing a little BABY.

        Abortion and same sex marriage has sealed our country and children’s fate, so start praying for the courage to TAKE BACK all God’s laws that our Catholic forefathers defended and fought and DIED for.

        WHERE are the Catholic Churches heirarchy of this so called land of the FREE and what are they truly voicing to these godless powers who do not serve God……

        USE the treasures and methods Christ said WOULD overcome Satan and his cohorts- PLEASE! Penance and FASTING, FASTING, FASTING. Save us and our nation

  20. Dr. Joe says:

    I have heard some say that the one way to rationalize or, at least, put any sense to the events and suffering brought about by evil and its deed, is to envision that, from that evil, God will bring about some good. This sounds pleasing intellectually but brings little comfort emotionally. My wife and I have suffered since learning of the events of the 14th in CT, alternating between anger, questioning, weeping and longing for peace for those to intimately affected by this seemingly, brutally senseless act of evil.

    As a Pediatrician, husband and father of 5 girls, one of which is in kindergarden, I cried for the children, their parents and families and the community as a whole. There is really no way to express our emotion or that of those affected in Words . . . they do not suffice, and to ask why, will give no answers, only more questioning and suffering.

    As Msgr. Pope mentioned in his article, “Where was God yesterday when the shootings in Connecticut occurred? Where is God when a young girl is raped, when genocide is committed, when evil men hatch their plots? Why Did God even conceive the evil ones, and let them be born?” We can’t answer this but evil happens all over the world in scales as horrible as yesterday’s events were. Last Christmas, a Catholic church in Nigeria after a Christmas mass, bombed and worshipers gunned down . . . why? We are sheltered quite a bit in America to the true atrocities that are committed all over the world daily but when it comes home, we then may start to understand how evil is everywhere.

    These thoughts are not a explanation or meant to be anything other than one man’s inner thoughts about these issues, but the only way we can continue is to love each other, support where we can, give our burdens to Christ and the Cross and hold true to our faith. God bless the victims, their families, the community and all of our country so that we may somehow continue forward and grow in our faith. Know that we are with you all in prayer and faith.

  21. Gerald Reiner says:

    As you stated, “…we can only point to Christ who did not exempt himself from the suffering we chose by leaving Eden.” And he did not exempt his mother, Mary, who may have suffered more than any one else. And he did not exempt his cousin, John, from the executioners ax or sword, even though he was the greatest man born to woman. Does not answer why, but those who suffer greatly are in good company.

  22. Aloysius Duque says:

    We have killed the Life and Love of God. We have legislated to kill. Politicians have won elections by favoring killing. We have voted killers. We have governed by killing. We have killed the unborn. We have killed our enemies and did not care how it affects the innocent. Now, we are killing children. The devil seems to have possessed us, wanting to kill and to kill again and again and again…

  23. JonInVa says:

    It is of no comfort nor an answer to the mystery of evil, but I have often wondered whether God’s “apparent” disinterest in human suffering (from our perspective, of course) is due to the fact that His interest is in our eternal souls and not in whether we suffer here on earth or not. That was decided long ago when evil entered the world – we have and always will suffer, in one way or another, each to a lesser or greater degree, no matter who wevare, rich or poor, and so forth.

    We see small innocent faces murdered, and imagine the horror, the fear and pain of those involved and their families. But in the scheme of things, that suffering is like the blink of an eye, while God’s embrace and love are eternal. To Him, that pain is nothing considering the brevity of human existence. We are here to know and love God, choosing and proving that love throughout the measure and meaning of our short lives, and through obedience to His will which involves much self-restraint and resolve in the face of evil which tries (and often succeeds) in telling us otherwise.

    God understands that the immensity of eternal happiness and love immeasurably outweighs our measly 75 years on this earth. Some don’t get even a day, while others might get 100 years. But in the end neither duration is anything to a God who is without time. He only cares that what little time we have ends with us deserving of eternal union with him. And clearly, the innocent children and heroic adults whose lives were cut even shorter are already in His embrace and their reunion with the loved ones they left behind will also now be but a blink of an eye to them.

  24. RichardC says:

    St. Paul suffered a lot to preach Jesus. When he recounts the suffering he endured I never feel sorry for him because he would recount his suffering in the form of a boast. There is one time though I feel pity for St. Paul. I think it was in a letter to Timothy. He asks him to bring his cloak and some books. A few verses later Paul asks him to try and get there before winter. Makes me think Paul no longer had a cloak for winter.

  25. Sadtosee says:

    It’s sad to see that members of the Catholic Church believe president Obama to be their enemy. He is not. He is a man, just like any other man, who is in a position in this country that he was elected to be in who believes he is doing what’s best for this country. I don’t think he’s the perfect candidate, but you know what? He is a kind man and he works hard. I’m sick of hearing people talk about his stance on abortion or any stance on abortion. What are you going to do for those fetus’ once they’ve come to term? You people cry about it, but then when the baby’s born, it’s no longer your concern! If you want to see less women having abortions, then work to inform young girls more the consequences of their actions! Stop being to scared to talk to them about sex because it’s out there and kids are doing it younger and younger! Stop making them feel so ashamed about themselves that they feel abortion’s the only way! How many parents threaten to disown or kick their children out of the house if they do get pregnant. A lot of the time young girls are deathly afraid of their whole world falling apart so what other option do they have?

    Our adoption system is broken. Our parenting system is broken! DOn’t blame the president or the heathens! DO what YOU can do to create a society where girls are either having less sex or taking more precautions and aren’t deathly afraid of losing everythhing if they do happen to get pregnant. Teach them how to be good mothers and then to teach their own children about the realities of sex.

    • George says:

      Take your anti Catholic democrat views to another site

      Your views are typical of an indoctrinated fool. This is a spiritual war that you have not once mentioned.

      Each line is thoroughly protestant and can be torn apart with argument, you would not be capable of handling the TRUTH

      I wouldn’t be surprised if Hilary or Michelle wrote this absurd opinion.

  26. El Tigre says:

    Dear God,
    Why do you allow so much violence in our schools?
    Concerned Student

    Dear Concerned Student,
    I am not allowed in your schools.
    God

    Dear God,
    Why did you allow the massacre of 20 children?
    Grieving Parent

    Dear Grieving Parent,
    Why are you concerned over 20? Your country murders 3000 of the children I send you everyday?
    You swallow a camel and strain at a gnat.
    God

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