Editorial — Pay attention and keep the faith

Glenn Rutherford

“The Lord is my shepherd, 
I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures;
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul.”

That last line of the 23rd Psalm provides a lifeline of hope to many people coping with the trials of modern life.

Those trials are plentiful. Just consider the headlines of recent months: Earthquakes in Turkey and Syria; remarkable storms in the U.S.; an environmentally disastrous train wreck in Ohio; a passenger train collision in Greece. Mass shootings that have become as common as the political lies that try to obfuscate their causes. Daily crime; health threats; rising prices; a rising suicide rate among young people. 

Little wonder we hear of people trying to “take a break” from the news. It’s understandable, especially since we’re also living in a time that some pundits are calling the “post-truth era.” Any qualms that politicians and other social leaders might have about “misrepresenting” their personal qualities and history have gone the way of tail fins on cars and Howdy Doody reruns.

Yet we can’t escape the news. We can ignore it, of course, but that only serves to make us less informed. And the less informed we become, the more likely we are to live divorced from reality. 

That divorce can prevent us from making intelligent decisions about our own futures and the futures of our family, community and nation. 

Which brings us to our need for faith, our desire to have our souls nourished.

Consider the continuing and ever-depressing war in Ukraine for a moment.

When Russia invaded its neighbor on Feb. 24, 2022, few people thought that, a year on, the war would still be raging. Many foreign policy experts expected Ukraine to wither under the onslaught of the Russian army, but that hasn’t happened.

Cities have been destroyed; millions of refugees have fled Ukraine for Poland and other neighboring nations. No one knows how many people have died on either side, and we’re not likely to have accurate figures for years. In this “post-truth era,” both sides are probably guilty of inflating their gains and minimizing their losses.

But ignoring the war won’t make it go away. That’s why in the year since the first days of the invasion, Pope Francis has consistently spoken out about the conflict, reminding us that as people of faith we can’t turn away from the unfolding disaster.

It is a war the pope calls “absurd and cruel,” which you might say makes it rather fitting for our times.

Speaking on Ash Wednesday, two days before the war’s one-year anniversary, Pope Francis noted that the “toll of dead, wounded, the refugees, those isolated, the destruction, economic and social damage speaks for itself.”

“Let us remain close to the tormented Ukrainian people who continue to suffer,” he said. “Let us ask ourselves: Has everything possible been done to stop the war?”

This much is certain: Turning away from the conflict, ignoring the war — far away though it may be — won’t help the situation. And it won’t help our understanding of those events and their ramifications for us and the rest of the world.

So pay attention. Keep informed. Try to make intelligent decisions for your family and your future. And never forget to return to the solace and comfort of faith.

It can restore your soul.

Glenn Rutherford
Record Editor Emeritus

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