Saturday, September 5, 2009

"School of Mercy"

"The School of Mercy"

Even before Boston's cardinal-archbishop published his own rebuttal to the harsher reactions that accompanied last week's death and funeral of the Senate's "last lion," another hierarch celebrated for his orthodox bona-fides had already sounded a call for calm... and, indeed, a call to conscience.

Published in yesterday's edition of the Madison Catholic Herald, here's the fulltext of Bishop Robert Morlino's column for his diocesan weekly....

Emphases original:
Dear Friends,

As I complete my time of rest and recuperation, I found myself unpredictably (at least had I been able to predict six months ago) with time available to me to watch on the television most of the events surrounding the funeral and burial of Senator Edward Moore Kennedy. For myself, the time was prayerful and well spent because I knew a lot about Senator Kennedy when he was still fairly young and, of course, I was younger still.

Senator Kennedy and I, many years ago, were, according to the common understanding, not quite ready to get in line to go and meet our Judge. There was plenty of time available, we presumed, to prepare ourselves to take our place in that line, and to welcome that part of our humanity which is experiencing the mystery of suffering and death. [the rest here]

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Dumbstruck by the Mystery

...our temptation is always to impose our prejudices or our measure on reality -- except when we are faced with a fact that leaves us dumbstruck, and instead of dominating the fact ourselves, we are dominated, overcome by it. If there were no moments of this kind, the Mystery could do anything, but in the end, we would reduce everything to the usual explanation. But not even a Nobel Prize winner can stop himself from being dumbstruck before an absolutely gratuitous gesture. If there were not these moments, we would find answers, explanations, and interpretations to avoid being struck by anything. It is good that some things happen that we cannot dominate, then we have to take them seriously, and this is the great question of philosophy. If the conditions for the possibility of knowledge (see Kant) impose themselves on reality or if there is something that is so powerfully disproportionate that it does not let itself be "grasped" by the conditions of possibility, then the horizon opens. If this were not the case, then we could dominate everything and be in peace, or at least without drama. Instead, not even the intelligence of a Nobel Prize winner could prevent him from coming face-to-face with a fact that made him dumbstruck -- instead of dominating, it was he who was dominated. Here begins the drama, because I am called to answer. It is the drama that unfolds between us and the Mystery, through certain facts, certain moments, in which the Mystery imposes itself with this evidence. These are facts that we cannot put in our pocket, which we cannot reduce to antecedent factors.
-- Julian Carron in "Friends, that is, Witnesses."