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Evansville, Indiana
January 15, 1988     The Message
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January 15, 1988
 

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Faith Today Supplement, The Message, Catholic Diocese of Evansville, Januaw 15, 1988 I I II II Glad you asked By Father Donald Talafous, OSB friend, a failure of large proper- =.,_ NC News Service lions, a heartbreaking experience ............ r .... ,,, in a relationship. .'i;. L ittle children delight These situations and many others .... :'':f and weary their parents can lead to questions about faith, " .......... with endless questions beliefs. And we need not fear the about why it is snow- search that results. For in a sense, ing, or why they can't many of us have to "leave home," ! go out, or why their friend at least in thought and feeling at Melissa has red hair. Later, when some time or other, before we can communication between parent come back to it with any apprecia- and child comes to a difficult tion or recognition of how much it phase, parents probably would means to us. give anything for a question out Like any trip -- to Vancouver or - of that same child.. Katmandu or even down the street Similarly, college teachers facing -- the journey into the depths of a lifeless class would delight to faith has its frightening aspect. I've have some of that questioning often heard of college students from students in place of an "I- who did not want to take a course dare-you-to-teach-me-anything" in theology for fear of having to passivity, question and shake faith. To ask questions about life, Also, there often are family ourselves, the way things are, members and friends who have re- what we are learning, our jected what we cherish in our religion, is necessary to some beliefs and left what we consider degree. We honor God's message so important and true. That's part by taking it seriously enough to of the risk, but we need to con- wonder what it means and how it tinue our respect for the con- got that way. sciences of these people and keep' 7 The mind too has a right to the door to our hearts and homes nourishment, to know some open. In many ways their recovery reasons why we should stay with of faith often depends more on our a belief, with Jesus Christ or the continued love and respect, hurt as ' '= E" "  ]1 1!:2" church. As 1 Peter in the New we may feel at times, than on our , ! ! Testament says: "Always be ready arguments and knowledge.  !t tO give an explanation to anyone A faith life that goes through the .a,l; s.=: who asks you for a reason for experience of some questioning, Ii,I.mWfti [' i,':' " your hope, but do it with some struggle, can grow stronger  .,, .. , gentleness and reverence" and more mature. ?. (3:15-16). ,  The questions people ask about (Father Talafous teaches theology . - , faith vary with their cir- at St. John's University, Col- zl  7; cumstances, background and legeville, Minn.) education. Why is suffering so  unevenly distributed? Why is Sun- day Mass necessary? Why are there somanydifferentchurches? ain!) for me0 Some wonderhowweknow The search (ag there is a God; others ask what God is like. Is he really old and gray-headed? Is he a he? Still others wonder about prac- By Katharine Bird for the past year, she is newly disaster strikes. "" rices they've grown up with: Is NC News Service aware of how quickly the years Then people ask, "Why did this confession ne.c'essary? Why don't - pass and how fragile life is. have to happen to me? Will 1 be priests marry? Why do people say  ndrea is 26, single and Free now to consider her own able to survive and endure this?... Hail Marys over and over again in  working in a career that wants and needs in a way she Why didn't God protect me?" the rosary?  is rewarding but that never has before, Amanda feels Ms. Donnelly said. Teaching theology or religion in k barely enables her to paralyzed. Who is she? How does a college, one often finds that buy the necessities of she want to live and where? What But "'the world can crack in a students with no religious life. She sees her two brothers is life all about anyway? lot of ways from lesser events" background take the most interest engaged and happily planning their too, she emp.hasized, for instance in the subject or ask the most pro- marriages. Recently her two best Both Andrea and Amanda are when one's child runs into prob- bing questions. They take nothing friends moved to distant cities to struggling with a basic religious lems in the neighborhood or a first for granted, pursue new career paths, question -- What will give meaning grandchild is born. One finds, too, in responding to Andrea finds herself lonely, to their lives? Then we wonder what our faith them, how much it often takes to unhappy and questioning just what And they are far from unique. "has to say about those events," make our religion intelligible to she wants to do with her life. People continually find themselves she said. the world around us. To allow Should she concentrate on finding in situations that cause them to Ms. Donnelly told of a person ourselves to be questioned -- a suitable partner and aim for mar- reassess their values and beliefs, who came to her for help in even grilled -- by friends with no riage and a family? Or should she said Dr. Doris Donneliy, co- choosing between two jobs. Even religious background is often an change her career focus which director of the Center for Spirituali- though she had attended Catholic incentive to get to know and Would mean going to graduate ty at St. Mary's College, Notre schools and was in a parish where comprehend better what we school? Dame, Ind. such topics were discussed, she believe ourselves. *Amanda is a successful career Sometimes people find them- said she didn't have the vaguest Many, believers or not, arrive at woman whose children are launch- selves asking about their faith after idea how faith could help with the their questions under the impact ed in careers .and families of their experiencing what theologian decision. But "I have an inkling I of stressful situations in life: the own. Having just celebrated her Reinhold Niebuhr called "ship- ought to," she said. death of a family member or 50th birthday and somewhat ailing wreck" events -- times when Ms. Donneliy helped the person