- Reform, rebuild and renew
On Thursday Pope Francis will have completed a year as Bishop of Rome, a year in which he has begun to transform the Church. But be in no doubt, argues our Rome correspondent, of just how wide and how deep go his aims for change
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I disagree with the direction taken by Francis Davis, who says, "The Catholic Church claims to be able to speak profoundly about the purpose of human character and flourishing. And yet its ability to address mental ill health, which forms a core part of our human condition, is palpably inadequate."
I would like to disagree in this way: the claims made by the Church regarding the preservation of flourishing human character are perfectly suited for the amelioration of suffering identified by clinical terms such as depression.
Not only are prayer and the acceptance of painful circumstances for the sake of reparation for one's own sins and for those of others (that is, the simple yet powerful intention we call "offering it up") effective means of dealing with sufferings. In fact, secular therapy these days is in virtually every circumstance the administration of drugs. Psychiatrists and psychologists are limited almost entirely to chemical solutions, and it is an unfortunate new but pervasive circumstance much discussed in the profession.
And when discomforts are the result of a person’s behaviour - in fact, the result of their sin - their most direct, powerful, remedy is the same one offered to him and to me: confession, and absolution, after repentance and conversion. It is charity to offer that remedy.
Don't become more secular, instead, return to the full-throttle teaching of the simple, bone-deep remedies provided by traditional Catholicism. We don't need a new direction, we need to return to the old, true direction.
Janet Baker, Chicago Illinois