Take and Read: Reading the slim book Interpretation Theory, whose size belies its depth and scope, was a kind of intellectual homecoming for me.
Commentary: I want to delve below the surface to engage what I think are some of the deeper issues and concerns and hopes that challenge us for the future.
Anyone who has ministered to people who are suffering has probably encountered the anguished question: Why did God ... give this young mother terminal cancer? allow our child to be kidnapped and killed? inflict this hurricane upon an already earthquake-ravaged country? Conversely, there are those smug or masochistic or sadistic people who are sure they know exactly why God did something: God is punishing those perverts, God is testing my faith, God took your child to teach you detachment, and so on. This attribution of direct causality for mundane happenings to God can be a spontaneous reaction to bewilderment in the face of inexplicable evil and suffering, but it reflects bad theology and encourages worse spirituality. Before looking for traces of God’s influence in the present experience of the Vatican investigations of religious congregations and their leadership, it is well to unveil and repudiate any temptation to whitewash that experience under the rubric of “God’s will.”
This is the fifth and final part of a five-part essay by Immaculate Heart of Mary Sr. Sandra Schneiders on the meaning of religious life today. In this part Schneiders, professor of New Testament Studies and Christian Spirituality at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, offers her conclusions in her essay entitled “Religious Life as Prophetic Life Form.” These essays run from Jan. 4 through Jan. 8.