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From Where I Stand

Gone are the days when war was between armies

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"Are you Joan?" the woman asked hesitantly. "I thought I recognized you."

I was waiting for an early morning flight out of D.C. "And what are you doing here?" I asked after some initial pleasantries.

She took a pack of pictures out of her bag. "My son is in Walter Reed Army Medical Center," she said. I felt myself go on instant alert. She began to rifle through the prints. "He has no buttocks," she said in the same even tones. "No buttocks," she said again as she looked me straight in the eye and held my gaze. "He's concave," she said making an arc with her hand.

Is this what they told us we were going there to do?

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Good Friday is the day, tradition says, when standing at the foot of the cross as Jesus died, a sword pierced Mary’s heart. This Lent I heard that same kind of pain a hundred times from other women who are also watching everything they’ve ever loved -- their country, their culture, their husbands, their children and their own futures -- die.

Setting the record straight

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Ovid, the Roman philosopher, wrote: "All things change, nothing perishes." In the wake of Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), the lesson has gone largely unheeded. The notion lives on that changing a practice undermines the faith. As a result, the struggle for the soul of the church has been a mighty one. Ideas have been stifled, unity has been strained, projects have been crippled, individuals have been crushed.

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In This Issue

April 11-24, 2014

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