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Speaking of suffering; waxing on bees HISTORY & THE CRUCIFIXION Thank you for Peter Manseau's penetrating critique of Christian theodicies that too facilely appropriate the suffering of others ("Catholics & the Shoah/' March 13), and Matthew Boudway's careful rejoinder ("Suffering, Silence & Holy Week/' April 1 0), one of the best exchanges on the subject I have read in a very long time. With deepest respect for the silence that must hover over Auschwitz - not least from Christian theologians, including the pope - the Cross presses us toward a realization that "does change the meaning of history, and not only Christian history," as Boudway argues.
letters Founded in 1924 Editor Paul Baumann Managing Editor Patrick Jordan Speaking of suffering; waxing on bees Associate Editors Grant Gallicho, Matthew Boudway HisTory & THe CruCifixion ily dismisses, something in which we are Thank you for Peter Manseau’s penetrat- all complicit. It is not incidental that dur- Assistant Editor Mollie Wilson O’Reilly ing critique of Christian theodicies that ing the liturgical remembrance of Jesus’ Production Editor & Webmaster too facilely appropriate the suffering of death, the whole assembly, from the Tiina Aleman others (“Catholics & the Shoah,” March youngest child to the most revered elder, Copy Editor 13), and Matthew Boudway’s careful re- is meant to shout in one voice, “Crucify Susanne Washburn joinder (“Suffering, Silence & Holy Week,” him!” From this dangerous locus “inside” Editorial Assistant Christopher Cimorelli April 10), one of the best exchanges on the paschal narrative, Catholics should re- the subject I have read in a very long time. alize their own complicity in the world’s vi- Business Manager Sandra J. Taylor Citing Pope Benedict’s claim (which gave olence, thus our radical need for conver- Development me a shudder) that the Nazis, by destroy- sion, mercy, forgiveness. Christa A. Kerber ing Israel, “ultimately wanted to tear With deepest respect for the silence Intern up the taproot of Christian faith,” Man- that must hover over Auschwitz—not least Colleen Gibson seau justly asks, “Who becomes the vic- from Christian theologians, including the Poetry Rosemary Deen tim in this kind of remembrance?” Yet pope—the Cross presses us toward a re- something in me resisted his sweeping alization that “does change the meaning Screen Richard Alleva, Rand Richards Cooper conclusions: “it does little good to treat of history, and not only Christian history,” Stage/Media Auschwitz as another stage in an endless as Boudway argues. Is God with us in the Celia Wren Passion Play. To do so subjects brutal reali- valley of death’s shadow (see Psalms 22 Columnists ties to the theological imagination, where and 23) or not? Is God with us even in our E. J. Dionne Jr., John Garvey, Melinda Henneberger, Cathleen Kaveny, meaning holds sway over facts.” guilt? Is ours a faith that alternates wild- Jo McGowan, William Pfaff For some weeks I tried, and failed, to ly between the breezy affirmation of God’s Marketing Coordinator conceive a half-credible response to Man- presence in all things and the mute aporia Nicole Benevenia seau’s empathetic logic that would vindi- of God’s absence? Here, indeed, Christi- Advertising Manager cate, if not the unfortunate revisionism of anity stands or falls on the Resurrection, a Roth Advertising the pope, then theologians like Jon Sobri- truth-in-faith that reaches from within his- Commonweal, [ISSN 0010-3330] A Review of no and contemplatives like Thomas Mer- tory to embrace and transform the silence Public Affairs, Religion, Lit
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