Fr Stephen Smuts

Posts Tagged ‘Suffering

Deaths in Gaza

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Infographic: Washington Post.


Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

July 30, 2014 at 20:57

Why Must Children Suffer For The Sins Of Their Fathers?

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(The Atlantic) – A Palestinian medic evacuates the body of a girl from Gaza’s eastern Shejaiya district on July 20, 2014.



Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

July 22, 2014 at 17:30

Is Religion the Primary Cause of War?

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Take a look at the data:

Atheists and secular humanists consistently make the claim that religion is the #1 cause of violence and war throughout the history of mankind. One of hatetheism’s key cheerleaders, Sam Harris, says in his book The End of Faith that faith and religion are “the most prolific source of violence in our history.”

While there’s no denying that campaigns such as the Crusades and the Thirty Years’ War foundationally rested on religious ideology, it is simply incorrect to assert that religion has been the primary cause of war. Moreover, although there’s also no disagreement that radical Islam was the spirit behind 9/11, it is a fallacy to say that all faiths contribute equally where religiously-motivated violence and warfare are concerned…

Read on here.

religious wars bar chart


Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

July 12, 2014 at 12:26

The Narrow Way

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Now this is an image I haven’t seen in a while:

It was posted today up at Fr Z’s, where the discussion is martyrdom:

Each of us may be called on to give witness that brings suffering.


Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

March 27, 2013 at 15:59


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We steal and lie. We tear human relationships apart. We abuse the gift of sexuality that God has given to us for purely selfish reasons. We create new idols that can never bring us happiness. We permit the destruction of innocent human life in the womb. We walk past the homeless and the beggars and ignore their plight.
We seek power over others and once we have it, use it to their detriment and our personal gain. We divorce those we made oaths to love and protect. We abandon all values that have served human happiness for centuries. We play God with human life in IVF and imagine that the eldest and weakest and most vulnerable have no intrinsic value. We deceive ourselves and raise ourselves in our own eyes above that which we are. We annihilate the vision of God from our horizon. We starve and dehydrate the sick to death and immerse ourselves in a culture of suicide and nihilism. Then, after we have done all of these things, we have the bare-faced audacity to ask the question of our Creator:

‘Why does God permit suffering?’

A thousand thousand volcanoes could not achieve that which we do to ourselves and the human race!

SourceThat The Bones You Have Crushed May Thrill


Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

September 10, 2012 at 15:00

True Christianity is a Persecuted Christianity

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As reported on The Deacon’s Bench:

That’s from Archbishop Bashar Matti Warda, who serves the Chaldean Catholic Archdiocese of Erbil in northern Iraq.  He spoke with Tim Drake of theNational Catholic Register:

What are three things you would like American Catholics to know about Catholics in Iraq?

First, that Christianity has had a presence in Iraq for 2,000 years. It’s a very old community. It has not been converted from Islam. We were there before Islam. Our schools were always the best, even from the sixth and seventh centuries. Second, we’ve been through a very difficult time. We are grateful to the many people who have held out a hand of charity and solidarity with us, the various Catholic charities. However, we would like to leave this path of charity for the path of opportunity. Yes, we are a minority, but we have the capability to stay and build a good future for Iraq. Third, I would like to see more of a commitment by the media to raise the awareness of the issues in Iraq to build schools and hospitals. We are not benefitting from the wealth that Iraq has. We need to find ways to stay and build the community. When we leave Iraq, it’s a big loss. When I visited our communities in Detroit, the second and third generations are no longer speaking the language. Our whole culture is gone.

Do you see a peaceful generation coming?

Yes, that’s what we have to work for. The next generation is not following in the footsteps of their parents because they are tired of the mess. So many voices are asking when, for what and why? These courageous questions are helpful.

What do we miss when we lump the Middle East together as a region?

There are areas of the Middle East that people can safely visit and benefit from. The roots of Christianity are there. We managed to open an international school in Erbil. We had five Americans from Washington and Dallas who are committed to helping us. I depend on them to come back to tell their story, not from a political point of view, but what it’s like to live among the community and in the heart of the community. The more you visit, the more you realize the richness and diversity of what’s there. You also learn about the dialogue between the communities and the lines that you have to respect. More positive articles and reports could help Americans and Europeans know more about the Middle East. We do not want to be on the news only because of violence and killings.

We use the term New Evangelization frequently in America. What does the term New Evangelization mean in Iraq?

For me and my community and the coming Year of Faith, we have prayed for that a lot and have had retreats and workshops to prepare and celebrate with the young people in our parishes. We see it as strengthening our relationship with Jesus who suffered and was crucified. This means reflecting on our wounds and not just bearing them, but taking these wounds with joy that we have participated in the suffering of Our Lord. We believe that true Christianity is a persecuted Christianity. That’s true all over the world. We can reflect on the past 10 years and say that the Lord is telling us something here. We have to deepen our relationship with him and announce the Catholic faith in a new vision which would welcome all those who are at the margins.

One of the bad effects of 2003 is that it’s opened the country for new evangelical groups who have come to steal from our community and churches. They come in ignorance telling us, “We are going to tell you about Jesus Christ.” I respond by saying, “Yes, I know him.” These groups succeed because they have financial ability. I told a group from Dallas, “You are weakening Christianity here. We are weak enough here in number, and you are dividing us. If you want to help Christians, first come to my place, not to places outside my diocese to try to attract others.”

Read it all.


Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

June 14, 2012 at 11:58

What Do We Need

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Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

December 10, 2011 at 19:20


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