“Where the Hell is God?”
When Australian Jesuit Richard Leonard was studying theology and looking at issues such as God and suffering and the ethics of euthanasia, it was largely an academic exercise. When his young sister, a nurse working with the poor in India, was left paralysed in a car accident, those issues literally became matters of life and death for him.Where the Hell is God? is a “small but explosive book” (Barnes & Noble review) resulting from his struggle to come to terms with the tragedy that befell his family. In it he articulates his own unique insight into the mystery of suffering for those who believe in a God that is all good. Roisin Duffy, RTE, will launch his book in Manresa Centre for Sprituality on Monday, 15 Nov at 7.30, and Richard will talk about his book in Gardiner St Church on Tuesday, 16 Nov at 7.30. All welcome to both events.Australian Jesuit and internationally known author and film critic Richard Leonard, debunks many of the myths people believe about the role of God in human suffering, in his latest book Where the Hell is God? The book’s Irish launch by RTE television’s Roisin Duffy, will take place in the Manresa Jesuit Centre for Spirituality, Mon, 15 Nov at 7.30pm. Leonard says, “When I was studying theology as a Jesuit, looking at issues such as God and suffering and the ethics of euthanasia, it was largely an academic exercise. Then my 28 year old sister, a nurse working with the aboriginal people, was left completely paralysed from the neck down in a car accident and those issues literally became matters of life and death for me”.Appalled at some of the letters and comments to his sister and family that passed as Christian insights into God’s role in her tragedy (twenty-four hour nursing care, seven days a week for the last 20 years), Leonard has detailed his seven steps to spiritual sanity, which contradict what many people actually believe about God’s role in human suffering. In these steps he claims that: God does not directly send pain suffering and disease. God does not punish us .God does not send us accidents to teach us things, though we can learn from them
God does not will earthquakes, floods, droughts or other natural disasters. God did not need the blood of Jesus. Jesus did not just come to die but God used his death to announce the end of death. God does not kill us off.“I am very grateful to the correspondents who wrote to me after my sister’s accident”, he says. “They have alerted me to how often we hear some terrible theology that does not draw us to God in the worst moments of our lives. It alienates us.”Richard Leonard will be in Ireland from Saturday 13 Nov until Wednesday 17 Nov and will be interviewd onBBC Radio Ulster’s Sunday Sequence programme on Sun at 9.45 am and on the John Murray Show, RTE radio 1 at 9am on Mon 15 Nov.He will lecture on his book in St Francis Xavier Church, Gardiner St, Dublin 1 on Tue 16 Nov at 7.30 and sign copies of his book. All welcome.Note:Dr Richard Leonard is a 47 year old Australian Jesuit and Director of the Australian Catholic Film and Broadcasting Office. He is a film critic and author of Mystical Gaze: An exploration of the films of Peter Weir, and Movies That Matter.