Bishop Slattery’s homily on suffering and obedience

One of the most difficult questions that we are posed on a regular basis is. “If God loves us so much, why is there so much suffering in the world?” Especially when the person asking it is someone who has experienced serious suffering him-  or herself, it is virtually impossible to give a satisfactory answer. Not because there isn’t one, but because from a suffering human perspective it is almost impossible to take a step back and consider suffering objectively. At moments like that, faith truly becomes a matter of ‘faith in’, of trust in God.

On Saturday, Bishop Edward Slattery of Tulsa addressed this very topic in a homily in Washington, a homily picked up by a number of blogs and heralded as a great piece of work. Bishop Slattery shines a light on suffering as the ultimate way in which Christ makes Himself present in our lives. Suffering strips away a lot, our comforts and sometimes our humanity, but in Christ it becomes nothing more (or less) than Christ revealed. From this, the bishop continues on to some good points about obedience, points worth prayerfully reflecting upon.

Father Z has a transcript with his usual emphases. He also offers an audio recording.

I also have the homily available in Dutch here.

A recommended read (or listen)!


4 thoughts on “Bishop Slattery’s homily on suffering and obedience”

  1. “Suffering then, yours, mine, the Pontiffs, is at the heart of personal holiness, because it is our sharing in the obedience of Jesus which reveals his glory” ~from Bishop Slattery’s sermon

    Those abused and those affected by the abuse are “suffering” much more than His Holiness . Their body, mind and spirit have been torn and violated. Their suffering is felt anew every time the child molestations are candy-coated in these terms

    “What do they want?” I hear the cry. All “they” want is a recognition, clear and without legalize, that the abuse happened, that the Church officials deliberately covered them up, that the Church recognized that it placed the welfare of the Church over the well-being of children.

    Does no one recall the saying of Christ:
    Matthew 18:6
    “But whosoever shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”
    “The law of sin is the violence of habit by which even the unwilling mind is dragged down and held, as it deserves to be, since by its own choice it slipped into the habit.” -St. Augustine, “Confessions”

    1. The victims and the Church and anyone else involved indeed need nothing less than recognition of the truth. Is that truth that the Church as a whole covered up? I’m afraid that’s a simplistic argument. Certain media have tried and failed time and again to implicate the pope or the Church in these terrible crimes, but they consistently failed. Ask the New York Times, for one.

      The truth must come out, and for that we need openness and honesty from all parties.

      Bishop Slattery did not do any candy-coating, in my opinion, nor did he present that the suffering of the pope is similar to the suffering of the victims of sexual abuse. He only speaks about suffering and does not quantify it. That’s not the purpose of the passage you quote.

  2. Two questions. What is the source of the Pope’s suffering, if not the pattern of abuse surfacing around the world? Is suffering caused by a grevious sin of omission “at the heart of personal holiness, because it is our sharing in the obedience of Jesus which reveals his glory?”

    Regarding the press,
    “This is from a Catholic News Service report on an Opus Dei conference for Catholic reporters. “Instead, Diego Contreras, the dean of the Holy Cross university’s communications faculty (Opus Dei-run Pontifical University of the Holy Cross) began the session by saying that overall, the press has had a positive role in bringing sex abuse to light and helping make it a priority issue for the church. Contreras concluded by saying The New York Times had clearly made a major effort to provide information on the crisis. The problems arose, he said, in journalistic interpretation, and in what he termed an excessive reliance on the narrative provided by the lawyers involved in sex abuse cases.

    Rachel Donadio, The New York Times’ Rome correspondent, afterward chatted with Contreras and told him that while people sometimes complain that the lawyers are driving this story, it’s very hard to get an alternative narrative from the Vatican.”

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