A Theology of Suffering

Our ex Catholic friend in the combox criticizes Catholics for indulging in a theology of suffering.

Didn’t the Master say we must ‘take up our cross and follow him’ if we would be his disciple? Now what could that possibly mean except that we ought not only expect, but accept the suffering that comes to us? Would our critical friend like to quarrel with the verses that not only predict persecution and suffering but also tell us to “Rejoice when you are persecuted?”

What shall we make of St Paul saying that he “bears his body the marks of the suffering of the Lord.” Was he the first stigmatist? How about the curious remark of St Paul that ‘he completes through his sufferings the sufferings of the Lord.”? It would seem that St Paul not only took the Lord’s idea that he would have to ‘take up he cross seriously’ but he understood a profound truth, that as we take up our cross we somehow co-operate with the sufferings of Christ for the redemption of the world.

This is where the Catholic tradition of ‘offering up’ one’s suffering comes from. We believe that we too, in some profound and disturbing way, may join our sufferings with the greater redemptive suffering of our Lord himself.

Dismiss it as negativity if you will, by all means buy into the ‘power of positive thinking’ but don’t imagine that such a worldly philosophy is Christianity. Imagining your suffering away is actually one of the tenets of a Protestant sect called Christian Science, and the idea that ‘If you only have enough faith you’ll be healed’ or ‘If you only believe enough your suffering will end’ is a false gospel that needs to be exposed for what it is.

Does this mean we disbelieve in Christian healing and that we pooh pooh all reports of miracles and marvels? Of course not. We believe firmly in miracles and marvelous healing. We pray that God will heal and we rejoice when he does, but along with this we realize that Jesus himself went through torture, suffering and death, and that he told us that if we want to be his disciple we should not expect to be spared.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09744212862956880795 the Mom

    Great post, Father.One thing our protestant brethren often miss is that there is a point and a purpose to suffering. Pain is not just some kind of random thing in the universe with no rhyme or reason to it. The pain and suffering we experience are the means by which we are refined, as gold in fire. The fire is not pleasant, but what comes out the other side has had many of its impurities stripped away.How great it is when people can offer their sufferings to God as a humble means of helping others. Why is it that these protestants seek to limit God to working within the rules they approve of and understand? They need to learn to surrender, and be at peace with whatever trials God sends trusting that it is all a part of the plan instead of a meaningless pain.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00447929797019147894 james hastings

    Dwight,Your comments on suffering are so anti-Catholic that for a moment I thought I’d wandered into a Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness blog by mistake.Oh yes, Jesus did say take up our cross and follow him, but that great Catholic writer, Eddie Russell, in his Imprimatur and Nihil obstat approved book (Its Faith, Jim) explains: “The cross Jesus spoke of was the suffering for the sake of the Gospel, not sickness and disease or every calamity that befalls us.”Paul did indeed say that he “his body bears the marks of the suffering of the Lord,” but remember Paul also raised the dead and healed the sick. When did you last do any of that, Dwight? When did any of your parishioners?How can they when they are too busy being anti-Catholic and pro-religious? How can any of you promoting an anti-Catholic theology hope to heal in His name, when you are too busy measuring the candles or sorting the incense rather than reading what Jesus said on healing? You seem to know more about Christian Scientists and Tennessee snake handlers than what the Catholic church really teaches about healing. How sad.Unlike your anti-Catholic pro-suffering theology, Paul and the others in the New Testament, understood the relation between suffering and healing. As a result, you emphasise suffering because you lack healing. No one in your parish is healed. Oh you claim someone in confession once told you one leap year of a healing, or a statue skated two inches down the Lady aisle; but let’s bring healing into the light and let‘s place the statues into a dark corner in the attic.You really showed your anti-Catholic colours when you wrote: “We pray that God will heal and we rejoice when he does.” Dhuh! Anti-Catholics like you emphasise suffering and ask why does God not heal everyone? The answer is because Jesus gave us His followers (not that we deserve it or earned it) the power and authority in His name to heal! Don’t look upwards for healing. You’re waiting for God to step in and, like a magician, zap down a healing from heaven. You’re waiting for God to do it; God is waiting for you to do it in the name of His Son, Jesus.BlessingsJames

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00447929797019147894 james hastings

    Dwight,Your comments on suffering are so anti-Catholic that for a moment I thought I’d wandered into a Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness blog by mistake.Oh yes, Jesus did say take up our cross and follow him, but that great Catholic writer, Eddie Russell, in his Imprimatur and Nihil obstat approved book (Its Faith, Jim) explains: “The cross Jesus spoke of was the suffering for the sake of the Gospel, not sickness and disease or every calamity that befalls us.”Paul did indeed say that he “his body bears the marks of the suffering of the Lord,” but remember Paul also raised the dead and healed the sick. When did you last do any of that, Dwight? When did any of your parishioners?How can they when they are too busy being anti-Catholic and pro-religious? How can any of you promoting an anti-Catholic theology hope to heal in His name, when you are too busy measuring the candles or sorting the incense rather than reading what Jesus said on healing? You seem to know more about Christian Scientists and Tennessee snake handlers than what the Catholic church really teaches about healing. How sad.Unlike your anti-Catholic pro-suffering theology, Paul and the others in the New Testament, understood the relation between suffering and healing. As a result, you emphasise suffering because you lack healing. No one in your parish is healed. Oh you claim someone in confession once told you one leap year of a healing, or a statue skated two inches down the Lady aisle; but let’s bring healing into the light and let‘s place the statues into a dark corner in the attic.You really showed your anti-Catholic colours when you wrote: “We pray that God will heal and we rejoice when he does.” Dhuh! Anti-Catholics like you emphasise suffering and ask why does God not heal everyone? The answer is because Jesus gave us His followers (not that we deserve it or earned it) the power and authority in His name to heal! Don’t look upwards for healing. You’re waiting for God to step in and, like a magician, zap down a healing from heaven. You’re waiting for God to do it; God is waiting for you to do it in the name of His Son, Jesus.BlessingsJames

  • Anonymous

    Father Dwight:Thanks for your generally excellent posts. I also appreciate James Hastings’ posts, though I do wish James that you were not so dominant on this blog. Perhaps there are others you should be visiting, and I’m not sure why you have so much time to engage as you do? From my experience in Catholicism, I do wish that there was more of an openness to healing, though I believe we are seeing this emerge more strongly all around the world in the Catholic Church. I also hope for a greater and broader Scriptural devotion in Catholic circles. However, a faith and desire for physical healing must not be the focus of our faith, but only a graceful complement to it. I desire for fullness of healing in mind and body from my Lord, and I believe He can, but I also believe He will, not based on my emotionalism or particular style of worship, but because He is merciful and will give to me what He desires for me in His own time, not by anything I do but believe in the poor way I am able.James, I am glad you found healing. Now come back into the One, Holy and Apsotolic Church and take God’s healing message into a Church which teaches (but certainly not always practices) the fullness of the Faith.Bless you all, especially as we celebrate new life in the Baptism of our Lord.Tim

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04298493682961935337 Mrs Jackie Parkes MJ

    i like this..but in Miles Jesu all the same we’re encouraged to be ‘positive thinkers’ & joyful..naturally we still get ill,depressed etc but it’s good psychology..there’s nothing wrong with using the helps available..although naturally all suffering united to Christ has merit. One thing my Parish Priest said to me was ‘you have suffered’ but today i’m glad to offer it to God.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06061238155542631558 Phil Smoke

    Father, amen! And thank you.James, I have to say that your last paragraph strikes me as absurd. The only basis for it I can imagine is an overwrought reading of biblical accounts of healing: “‘Paul healed him’ – so Paul did it – not God!” But this novel reading then forces you to rewrite the rest of the New Testament, from passages specifically about healing to much broader truths about God and our relation to Him. And from what I can tell, your interpretation would also force you to throw out huge portions of church tradition. Looking to God for healing is not treating Him as a magician – but as God.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12373317560249811006 Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    James, I’m afraid I couldn’t make out your last comment. I’m unclear who is pro Catholic or anti Catholic, pro healing or anti healing, pro suffering or anti suffering.I can only speak for myself and say that I’m pro Catholic, pro healing and anti suffering, but if we do have to endure suffering I’m glad we have a theology that helps us deal with it.

  • http://purifyyourbride.stblogs.com Randy

    A Catholic priest with the gift of healing came to town this advent. Somebody at my work brought in a picture of her father-in-law who had cancer. The priest prayed over the picture. Since that prayer the father-in-law has been tested twice and not a single cancer cell has been found. Amazing healing. I agree that the church is not always as open to this kind of thing as they should be. There are phonies but we can’t assume they are all phonies. I think God that my bishop allowed this priest to come.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00447929797019147894 james hastings

    Randy,You made the best comment of the day – “I agree that the church is not always as open to this kind of thing as they should be.”But sadly, you then revealed the tragedy of clerical dominance in the Catholic denomination when you added this wonderful healing only happened because your bishop ‘allowed’ the priest with the healing ministry to come in. Too many bishops don’t because they have no healing experience themselves.Anonymous – I appreciate your honesty when you wrote: “From my experience in Catholicism, I do wish that there was more of an openness to healing.Dwight, Phil Smoke – my last par is basic Catholic belief, but I reckon you guys are so outside of basic Catholic belief, that is why you are puzzled.Here it is – all healing comes from God. Period. Anyone who claims to have healing powers is either a fake or in league with Satan. Avoid them, especially if they charge money.All healing comes from God, but God through Jesus has given us power of attorney to heal in His name. When I lay hands on the sick, the healing is not originated in me, but God. I or Fr Bob deGrandis or the guys at Cor et Lumen, are used by God.So, rather than look up to heaven for healing, look into yourself because the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is in you – but it is not your power. God heals, through us. That is how wonderful God is, that he would place such authority in us when we do not deserve it. He has given every person this gift, although it is true some people have a special gift of healing, although ultimately it rests in God.Paul never healed in the sense the power was his. No, Paul was just a tent maker. He couldn’t heal a common cold. But he knew the power of God was in him and taking the authority given to him as a follower of Jesus, he commanded healing in Jesus name. Get it?Anonymous – thanks for the half-compliment. I am a full-time writer, doing one book and planning a second. I write for nine Christian newspapers/magazines each week.I can write in my sleep. I really don’t wish to dominate anyone’s blog so I’m always ready to leave whenever asked, by Dwight as this is his backyard.I suppose after 40 hyears as a Catholic, now Evangelical, I have a sense of mission to inform those who believe they are Catholics, (there is salvation in the Catholic church) like Dwight, but are actually promoting a man made religious teaching instead of basic Catholic belief. Hope that doesn’t offend.Love y’all my brothers and sisters in Jesus – now go and heal in His name!James

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12373317560249811006 Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    I have already said numerous times now that I am in favor of healing and have been involved in ministry where people have been healed by God through my ministry. Just this afternoon I visited a girl in hospital and prayed for healing in Jesus name.Nevertheless James, I do need to ask you a simple question: do you ever have funerals at your church? Are any of your people in hospital? Have you any terminally ill people in your church?If so, how do you help them deal with the fact that their loved ones have not been raised from the dead or healed?Don’t get me wrong, I am not knocking the healing ministry, but asking how you answer these questions.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00447929797019147894 james hastings

    Dwight,My answers to those questions are the same as Damian Stayne’s which I’ve already listed on your blog.Incidentally, Damian also stated the reason he was putting Cor et Lumen’s miracles on YouTube was because most Catholics did not believe healing actually happened in the Catholic church.BlessingsJames

  • http://purifyyourbride.stblogs.com Randy

    James,The question is not what you or I think should be. I think we mostly agree on matters like this. The question is what makes sense for the church and how that should be decided. Different churches have different ways of deciding. I never agree 100% of the time no matter how it is done.Having a bishop decide has a ton of advantages. It can be hard when you have a different vision than he does. But that is unity. We don’t all agree so if we want to be one body we need to make it work. Having a bishop appointed by the pope in charge makes sense to me. He has a clear line of authority. I don’t. So if I don’t like what he does I can make my case but there is no reason why my opinion should prevail. If that means certain healings don’t happen then so be it. It is not my job to worry bout such matters. I was thrilled when I heard this story. I have to admit to being very slow to believe such things. Still it sounds awesome.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00447929797019147894 james hastings

    Randy,When I was Catholic, I, like you, was “very slow” to believe in miracles and healing. To believe in them was a sign of weak faith. I was asked: ‘Why do you need miracles to bolster your faith, James? Are you scared of suffering? Be like the children of Fatima and embrace TB.’All the teaching was about suffering and carrying your cross which meant accepting physical, emotional, psychological or material pain. The phrase used over and over was ‘vale of tears.’People in my Catholic parish got sick, died and suffered depression. Now as an Evangelical, Christians still die, get sick and are depressed; but many, many people also get healed, raised from the dead, set free from depression, lack and psychological pain.And there’s not a bishop in sight!Paul tells us to ‘work out our own salvation.’Don’t rely on anyone to bring you to Jesus. Not Billy Graham, Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyer or Flame Ministries and Cor et Lumen.All of the above are, I absolutely believe without any doubt, annointed by God to bring His Word to people.They can all help us. But as Paul says we must ‘work out our own salvation.’Even if there is a bishop around!BlessingsJames

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08110341406524333073 chimakuni

    James – I am a convert to the Catholic Faith – going on 21 years now. I have seen miracles in the church. I myself was healed from a horrible car accident through the power of God in the healing hands of Father Ralph DiOrio…I also embrace my sufferings – The two are not mutally exclusive.James – I have been reading your posts and your self promotion. Me thinks thou dost protest too much.Writing in your sleep is pretty miraculous, and if you can do that, I know that God can convert your willing heart back to Him in His Church.

  • Anonymous

    To James Hastings,Never heard of Eddie Russell.Fella called John Paul II wrote something called “Salvifici Doloris”. Pretty interesting, but I’ve got to admit I didn’t look for his Imprimatur and Nihil obstat.Dean Steinlage

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15000747762174079070 PraiseDivineMercy

    Father, thanks for writing on this. I think the Lord also sometimes allows suffering that we may forget the important of worldly things, and cling to Him.James- Your words make me sincerely doubt you ever read the works of the great saints. Please do not call a priest by his first name already! It’s highly disrespectful and scandalous to the faithful.James, we have told you many times that healings take place every day through the sacrament of the sick in hospitals and through prayer. You don’t believe us. Father Dwight is exercising his healing ministry every time he visits someone in a hospital or nursing home. The Catholic hospital near me has a dedicated staff for “spiritual care.”I worked in a nursing home and only occasionally did I see a minister come in. A small group came once a week to play praise music on a guitar for those who could be wheeled into the cafeteria. The priests came in at all hours at the request of families to administer the sacraments and pray for the sick.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00447929797019147894 james hastings

    Melody,I have stated before I show the greatest respect to people by using their Christian names. However, if the person specifically requests I use their title, whether that is Father, Reverend or Doctor or whatever, then I do.You are showing a great lack of understanding of the Catholic teaching on healing, either through ignorance or deliberately.It is one thing to pray for someone to have comfort in their illness; it is quite another to call on healing in Jesus name, recognising that only He can heal and seeing that person healed and alive. I had 40 years experience of Catholics praying for comfort for the person who was sick. Every sick person in the four Catholic parishes I attended who were prayed for, all died. Every single one. Not once was it announced that Mrs McGinty or Mr McGonnigle who had cancer, or depression, or lived in lack, or had relationship problems etc etc – not once was it announced they had been healed.Now, of coruse, some people prefer to remain anonymous. But if at least once we heard the person had been healed, well, I would really start to believe you.Damian Stayne at Cor et Lumen Christi said one reason the group were placing their miracles on YouTube was because Catholics by and large, did not believe miracles were happening in the Catholic church.BlessingsJames

  • Anonymous

    James,Can you give me evidence and specific information (name, phone number, address, etc.) of someone in your church who was actually raised from the dead? I would like to meet and talk with that person.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01187685398897830910 Soutenus

    I think the statement, “Catholics by and large, did not believe miracles were happening in the Catholic church” is wrong. That is someone’s opinion. It just sounds exaggerated to me. It certainly is not the opinion of Catholics I know.Every time Mass is said a miracle happens. The bread and wine become Jesus’ body and blood. Any healing of physical pain or disease is peanuts up next to that, in my opinion. Now, that being said, I want to follow up — in our Church (and at the Catholic school where I teach) MANY people have talked about miracles of physical and spiritual healings!!Off the top of my head I can remember — migraine headaches that disappeared, chronic pain that went away, cancer that was cured.AND – I am grateful for the Church’s teaching on suffering. I am very relieved that we can offer up our sufferings to “fill up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the Church” (Colossians 1:24)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00447929797019147894 james hastings

    Anonymous,You write: “Can you give me evidence and specific information (name, phone number, address, etc.) of someone in your church who was actually raised from the dead? I would like to meet and talk with that person.”You make this challenge from an anonymous position. And you still expect to be taken seriously?Come forward. Name yourself. Reveal the healing that has not happened in your life which has made you so bitter and so anti-healing. Then repent, call on Jesus for healing. BlessingsJames

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00447929797019147894 james hastings

    Soutenus,Great to hear such positive thoughts from a Catholic. People like yourself, Cor et Lumen and Flame, are , sadly, still a minority.I absolutely believe you when you say Catholics you know speak of healing and miracles. Now, your challenge is not to convince me, an Evangelical. I already support Catholic groups like Cor et Lumen and Flame Ministries.Your challenge is to convince your fellow Catholics.BlessingsJames

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00447929797019147894 james hastings

    Anonymous,I pressed the wrong button on my keyboard and sent halfway through. I meant to add that once you repent from your anti-Catholic view and call on Jesus for healing, then simply make a note of your name, address, telephone number and interview yourself. You can then reveal how you feel, in your case, being raised from the (spiritually) dead.BlessingsJames

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12373317560249811006 Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    James, you’re making yourself ridiculous here. The question is quite a good one, and I wanted to ask it myself.If you’re so keen to blame Catholics for not having healings and resurrections in their churches, can you give us the names, addresses and details of the people who were raised from dead–not only last week, but let’s say just the last three from every week since Christmas? If that can’t be done can you name just one? We’d also like the complete medical history and proof that the miracle cannot be accounted for in any other way.As for healings, rather than exalted claims and wonderful success stories, we’d like you to submit your claims for healing to a rigorous, objective medical and scientific process. In other words, do what Catholics do before they claim miracles–rule out all other explanations.That’s what we do at Lourdes and other places that claim miraculous cures.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00447929797019147894 james hastings

    Dwight,Its been a long time since I read such an anti-Catholic rant as yours. I sometimes wonder if you have really crossed the Tiber, or if you still have one foot in your Tennessee snake charming days.I told you earlier in this blog that this week I interviewed Damian Stayne, founder of Cor et Lumen Christi, the Catholic charismatic group which has decided to put its healing crusades on YouTube because Catholics, in Damian’s words, largely do not believe miracles happen. I am writing a story this week on this for the Catholic Times paper in the UK. I have told Damian that I will send him my story in advance so he can read it over and make any amendments before I send it for publication. That is testimony to how much I respect true Catholic teaching. Please feel free to check with Damian (contact details on Cor et Lumen’s website) to see if I have done this.I asked Damian about Catholics ( like you ) who demand exact medical verification of healings. He values medical verification and recounted several instances when doctors were present at healings, such as the man healed of mouth cancer and whose doctor was also present and how subsequent hospital tests also showed a miraculous healing. In another case, a woman doctor from Ireland was healed of breast cancer at a Cor et Lumen meeting – don’t you think she would know! The same healings happen in my Evangelical church and many others, but I stress the Cor et Lumen ones because you are Catholic. (well, I hope you are )But Damian made this point. He said when Jesus healed people, he did not insist they all showed themselves to the priests. Think of Lazarus and others who after being raised from the dead or healed of blindness and so on, went back to living normal lives – no medical proof required.I grew up with the stifled religious Catholic view you promote which says that all miracles need to be passed through a Vatican search team who would take five or ten years or more to verify a healing. So, when I was a legalistic Catholic like you, if someone had claimed to have been healed in their church meeting, I absolutely dismissed it because of my false Catholic upbringing.The Vatican simply does not have enough staff or hours in the day to check every miracle. But that does not mean they do not happen.Miracles are happening in my church, at Cor et Lumen at the Vineyard churches founded by John Wimber and at Flame Ministries. But not in your parish, because you have such an anti-Catholic, anti-healing theology, that all you can offer your parishioners, literally crippled by false teaching is – wait for it – suffering!BlessingsJames

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12373317560249811006 Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    Dear me, such vitriol! You seem to have missed my earlier comments James, when I said that I am actually in favor of the charismatic movement and the healing ministry, and that I believe in it, and I encourage it, and that I pray for healing in my own pastoral ministry and have seen people healed through God’s grace under my hands and through my prayers.I’ve also said that every year in the UK I attended the Catholic Charismatic Conference, know Damian Stayne and am encouraged by his ministry?How many times to I have to assert this before you will stop ascribing to me and my church your own negative projections of Catholicism?However, while being enthusiastic about miracles and healing it is also correct to be properly skeptical and to make sure we do not make fools of ourselves and ridicule the faith in the eyes of the world. Proper caution is necessary is all I am saying.But if you do not like the caution we exhibit towards your miracles, why do you dismiss or discount all the other Catholic miracles I have listed that are never heard of in the Evangelical churches? Why don’t you pay attention to the levitating saints, eucharistic miracles, saints who exist on nothing but the eucharist for decades, saints with stigmata, incorrupt bodies of saints, the spinning sun at Fatima, Apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Lourdes, Medgugorje, etc etc?If you are so keen on miracles why do you reject all these Catholic miracles with a smug wave of the hand and refer to them all as ‘bleeding statues’?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04298493682961935337 Mrs Jackie Parkes MJ

    In the Catholic church we see miracles everyday..i have managed to raise ten children with a severe mental illness..that is a miracle..but like St Bernadette some of my life my job has been ‘suffering’..face it this kind of suffering united to Christ is redemptive..if we were all healed at lourdes..why wasn’t Bernadette. Our Bleesed Mother told Bernadette ‘i cannot promise you happiness in this life only in the next.’ But like FATHER Dwight i still believe in miracles,healings,charismatic renewal..but God gives the healing as he chooses..my suffering has transformed me, not into a saint (sadly) but into someone who takes nothing for granted & relishes every minute as a gift from God. Prior to my illness i was oh so complacent!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00447929797019147894 james hastings

    No, Dwight, not vitriol, just righteous anger as Jesus often displayed towards the religious teachers of his day, who hid the truth from people while burdening them with legalistic, religious nonsense – and He used a lot stronger language than me.Attendance at an annual charismatic meeting is one thing, but being filled with the Spirit every day is quite another. I regularly ask Catholics, including my family, if anyone in their parish has been healed, if healing is taught or expected, and apart from the charismatics, the answer is usually a firm no.As for the ‘bleeding statues’ type of miracles, such as incorrupt bodies of ’saints.’ Well, imagine a man tells you his spouse has breast cancer, or a distraught mother reveals her children are involved in the occult, or a blank faced parishioner tells you he has severe depression and can‘t even leave his house.Then you say: “Hey, Joe, don’t be so glum, they dug up the body of St Gertrude of the Five Wounds last week and guess what, her elbows were as soft as a baby’s bottom. A miracle!”Compare that view of ‘miracles’ with Acts 5: 16 – “Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick, and those tormented by evil spirits and all of them were healed.”Dwight – here’s an idea. Flame Ministries visit the States every year. Why not invite them to your parish. They operate on an invite basis. Go on, invite them to your parish and you’ll never look at a bleeding statue again!Jackie – nothing happens in the universe unless God allows it. All healing comes from God, but He has given us power of attorney, so Christians need to stop hoping He’ll act, and act themselves in Jesus name.God bless you, Father Dwight, and all your parishioners and bloggers.I’m signing off as I’ve a book to finish writing and a deadline to meet.But I’m always reading…..James

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12373317560249811006 Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    James, we can’t seem to satisfy you can we? We say that we too believe in healing, point to the healing miracles of the saints and the healing miracles at places of apparitions, we agree with you that the Catholic Charismatic movement is a good thing, that we attend their conferences, are encouraged by their work, and that we too pray for healing in our ministry, have ourselves been healed through prayer, and have seen people healed through our own sacramental ministry. We also claim to be filled with the Holy Spirit every day and to walk in the light and grace of Christ. We minister to the sick, anoint the sick according to the teachings of the church and expect to see all sorts of healings. We go on to list many many types of other miracles that Catholic saints exhibit, and still we are blamed because we don’t heal enough and don’t believe in miracles enough?Are there many Catholics who do not believe in healing and do not practice the healing gifts? Yes of course, but aren’t there many many (even the majority) of Protestants who dismiss the supernatural, reject prayers for healing and never expect marvelous things to be done? Why must all Catholics be blamed for the disbelief of some, while you are able to distance yourself from the multitude of Protestants who never in a million years would expect miracles?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04298493682961935337 Mrs Jackie Parkes MJ

    You put it so nicely Fr. i was going to say he’s talking a load of c**p! Woops..

  • Anonymous

    A few things I would like to comment on:Catholicism is not a “denomination” She is the Bride of Christ-started by Jesus himself and fed by His Body in the Eucharist, renewing at every Mass this marital covenant. Denomination refers to the protestants’ many different churches and their beliefs. Psychology is study of the mind…the Church administers to the whole person, mind, body and spirit=God’s Trinitarian image. The healing I see being referred to in some of these comments only refer to the physical being and the suffering, I believe, is allowed in order to benefit the soul of the individual and those who are administering to those in need. What could be more humbling than to allow someone else to help us in our suffering? The suffering is not just about the person who is afflicted, it is just as much about those who act compasionately to them. If all were healed then there would be no need for compassion and selfless acts of charity.

  • Richard

    James,You wrote: “… you can then reveal how you feel, in your case, being raised from the (spiritually) dead.” Oh, so now we’re talking about being “spiritually” raised from the dead? Well, in that case, I have been raised from the dead many times when I have gone to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, confessed my sins, and have received absolution. Happens all the time in the Catholic Church. But you still haven’t answered the poster’s question. Can you name just ONE person who has been physically raised from the dead in your church? Just one? I would love to hear about it as it would be most interesting indeed.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04298493682961935337 Mrs Jackie Parkes MJ

    Reminds me of the time the Jehovah witnesses visited Monsignor Graham Leonard (former Anglican Bishop of London) & speaking of miracles they told him it said Jesus’ disciples could drink poison & remain unharmed (i forget the ref). So they asked him to drink it..& he answered..’ no, you drink the poison & i will raise you from the dead! ‘Don’t you just love it?

  • Jeannine

    I just don’t understand why James keeps saying that Catholics don’t believe in healing from God. I am so grateful for the times that God has answered my prayers and the prayers of my family, my friends, and the members of the Communion of Saints, especially St. Therese of Lisieux, when we prayed for healing. Thank you, Lord!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18123285369625549789 Verndigger

    Imagining your suffering away is actually one of the tenets of a Protestant sect called Christian Science Dear Father Dwight, and all – Christian Scientists do not in the slightest imagine their suffering away. this is a gross misunderstanding of Christian Science, which teaches healing through prayer, and understanding the laws of God, as Jesus did. You may check this out by reading Science & Health with Key to the ScripturesNumbers 6:24-26 to everyone, Verndigger

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04708482846503957891 Nathan

    Verndigger,Best I can tell from that site, Christian Science doesn't believe in the physical world at all, but believes it is in some way a projection of the mind. Therefore, to those of us who believe in the existence of the physical world, Christian Science does appear to be a religion of "imagining," since the world is itself somewhat imaginary, and if there is no physical existence, then all we do is imagine.So, while I'm sure your Theology goes deeper than that, and I understand that you must in some sense see God as enacting healing, your religion still appears to suggest that it is our imagination that makes us suffer in the first place, so altering that imagination (perhaps with God's help, or through union with God, or the Divine Mind) will also alter our physical circumstance.We Catholics do not believe that it is enough for us to want God to heal us, or even to believe he will heal us. We recognize that miracles are always God's decision, and not under our control, though he may use us as instruments for working them.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04708482846503957891 Nathan

    James,You are so antagonistic and unwilling to listen that I have some trouble believing that you even believe what you're saying. I kind of wonder if you're only on here to rile people up.In common Internet speak, I believe this is referred to as "trolling."But then again, you seem to have just enough knowledge of the topic to make me err on the side of believing you are for real.In this case, you're just someone who's full of pride, and likes to hear himself talk, but is unwilling to listen to what others are really saying. I have family members like you. Even though we may agree on a topic, we argue about it anyways, because they can't stop assuming I disagree with them, and actually listen to me.


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