A kindly reply to a man who, though he says he does not believe in God, speaks as though he is in fact deeply angry at God. Being angry at God is a perfectly respectable thing to do, as Job demonstrates. Fry’s main mistake is in not directing the anger at God in prayer, but at the press in pointless complaint. Being furious at somebody you strenuously assert is not there is much sillier than believing in somebody Stephen Fry demands you believe is not there.
Fr. Barron, being a good pastor, directs his reply to the complainer more than to the complaints, which are ancient cries of the human heart. I’ve always enjoyed Fry’s work, and I’ve always had the sense that he struggles with vast reserves of pain under that cool British wit and reserve. Now and then, as in that rant, it comes spurting out like lava. He needs healing, as do we all. I can’t give him alms for Lent, so I give him mercy for that rant instead and, taking a cue from the book of Job, offering not to give him easy answers like Jobs comforters. The only answer is the wordless icon of the Word Crucified. In the end, that’s all the Faith can say about the Problem of Evil (a problem that does not even exist apart from the goodness of God).