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Even cardinals should have doubts, says commentator

This commentator asserts that having doubts about one's faith can be healthy, as it guards against intractability and sense of humour failures.

  • Richard Holloway
  • International
  • March 7, 2012
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There is a wincing little scene right at the end of John Patrick Shanley's 2008 film, Doubt. The film is set in a Catholic church in the Bronx in 1964, and the action focuses on the suspicions aroused in the steely mind of the principal of the parish school, Sister Aloysius, about the conduct of the liberal-minded parish priest, Father Flynn. Sister Aloysius bullies Father Flynn into resigning, but in the final scene she confesses to another sister that she lied in order to get rid of him.

Then, her steely facade disintegrating, Sister Aloysius bursts into tears as she speaks the last words in the film: "I have doubts … I have such doubts."

We are not told what it is she doubts, but we conclude that behind her severe and implacable front there lies a mind riven with uncertainty about the truth of the very beliefs she has given her life to. This is a well-understood phenomenon and it is one few of us have not experienced.

We understand how often the proclamation of excessive loyalty is a cloak to hide unbearable doubt, even from ourselves. Doubt can be unbearable. It is one of our most painful experiences; but when we attend to what is happening and try to understand it, it can be the prelude to liberation and a kind of rueful peace of mind.

Full Story: Let our angry cardinals believe in their doubts

Source: The Guardian
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