…while I was in Rome for studies, I began going through what I can only describe as a Dark Night of the Soul. In a way, the Dark Night has been continuing for 16+ years now, although modalities of it have changed.
One of my main spiritual teachers passed away a few years ago, and I really haven’t found someone with whom I can discuss the spiritual life…
While I agree with you and so many others on issues of life and human dignity…I so often see support for abortion tied to human rights, and recent writers have included abortion itself as “pro life.” It’s a bit odd to me to be against capital punishment and yet be in favor of executing the children of the poor…while I need to honestly assess the situation, I think judgment is exhausting, and most people I see replying on the current situation judge very harshly. I’d rather just work the issues than judge the people, but I’m still judging sometimes.
You asked for questions about how to survive this moment. Your question in itself breaks my heart. Implicit in it is the idea that what we’re undergoing is unprecedented. Over the past months, I’ve thought about how at points in the past the US may have been similar to how it appears now—during the gilded age, for instance. And so I’ve been hoping that the country can survive the evil attitudes that are driving it right now—the corruption, the disregard for human rights, the view that the earth is only here to be used by humans for profit, the assumption that some people are superior to others. I have been a lapsed Catholic for years, and my crowd (writers and scholars) are extremely suspicious of Christianity and the Catholic church. But after the Nov 16 election, I did go to mass, hoping to be energized toward activism. I want my parish to give me permission to be an activist. Instead, the message I got was—be complacent, and pray. I haven’t been back since.
Here in Columbus, Ohio, we have a “resistance letter writing group”. Since the inauguration we have written 40-45 letters to our Ohio senators and congressmen, some cabinet heads, the governor, the president, and others in this administration. We have covered such topics as immigration reform, abuse of human rights, education, gun control, tax reform, budget cuts, healthcare, protection of the environment, and so on…Some of us believe we will have no impact because those in power have no intention of listening, let alone changing. But we keep plugging away…
…a very good dear and loved man I know has a date [for execution] for September 26th. I have spent the last year and will spend the next few months visiting this man…and I am afraid. The struggle I am having is what does one do with the grief?
Pope Francis is building on opposition to the death penalty that began with Pope John Paul II, who spoke about the dignity of guilty life as well as innocent life and described executions as cruel and unnecessary. I’ve been glad to play a part in these developments.