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Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor on BBC Radio 4's 'Thought for the Day'

posted on 21 March 2008

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor has presented BBC Radio 4's Good Friday 2008 ' Thought for the Day'.

Speaking to the audience of the Today programme, he said

'Whenever I talk to people who regard religion as something completely absurd, what puzzles me often is not their views so much as the absolute certainty of their conviction which does not allow for any doubt in the believer. And what is much closer to the believers I know and meet is that they have a far more humble attitude to the mystery of life and they often admit to periods of doubt about their faith in God and of His care for creation. Faith is often lived in darkness.'

'I was recently on a visit to Zimbabwe and was quite appalled and shocked by the conditions in which the vast majority of people live. There is dire poverty and many suffer from disease and lack of food. In our visit we met many people living with AIDs; some of them orphans struggling to bring up their younger brothers and sisters.'

'On a visit to a parish near Harare, I met the local priest. Outside his house people were lying down on the ground, waiting and hoping for some food. There were thousands more in the shanty town surrounding the parish.'

' Sometimes I wonder, said the parish priest, where God is in all of this? The sense of bewilderment at this seeming absence of God amid the miseries, trials and suffering of so many, is common to many people and today, if you like, is their feast day.'

'Christ had that same sense of total abandonment as He hung upon the cross. He said, as he died, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Such a cry rings down the ages and into the hearts and minds of so many today.'

'It is right, therefore, that Christians should co-agonise with Christ in His acute pain and desolation on this Good Friday. In St JohnsGospel we read that it was on the cross that Christs glory was revealed. Jesus died in utter agony but also with total acceptance of the will of his Father: Father, into your hands I commend my spirit, he said.'

'Such trust and belief is hard to understand, but it lies at the heart of what faith is about. While the pain of those Zimbabweans appeared out of the ordinary, we all suffer in different ways in our lives. Suffering and doubt is part of what it is to be human, but Jesus rising from the dead shows us that is not the end of the story.'

'But today it is enough to be humble and to share that sense of pain and desolation, wherever we know it to be and which many of us experience from time to time and pray that the darkness and despair will turn to hope and to light.'

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posted on 21 March 2008

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