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The Problem of Drugs

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger

I recall a debate I had with some friends in Ernst Bloch’s house. Our conversation chanced to hit on the problem of drugs, which at that time—in the late 1960s—was just beginning to arise. We wondered how this temptation could spread so suddenly now, and why, for example, it had apparently not existed at all in the Middle Ages. All were agreed in rejecting as insufficient the answer that at that period the areas where drugs were cultivated were too far away. Phenomena like the appearance of drugs are not to be explained by means of such external conditions; they come from deeper needs or lacks, while dealing with the concrete problems of procurement follows later.

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"Nora and Trish,” Eva Engelland-Spohn, Gospel of Life disciple

A Birth Unto Hope: Reflections on the Gospel of Life at Death

Sister Maria of the Trinity

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Birth. Death. What lies in between? A short span, often punctuated by suffering and loneliness. Each of us must wrestle with the “perennial problem of human finitude” (Ratzinger) and face the question of our life’s meaning. Is it good . . . fundamentally? Does it promise anything? Does it keep its promise? Absent hope in a good answer, we try to escape reality with numbing diversions of various kinds—from screens to drugs. We hang on, barely alive. Instead, when we attend to the glimpses of goodness in our existence, it’s possible to engage it fully alive in the hope that our finitude will blossom into the abundance of eternal life.

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Humanum is about the human: what makes us human, what keeps us human, and what does not. We are driven by the central questions of human existence: nature, freedom, sexual difference and the fundamental figures to which it gives rise, man, woman, and child. We probe these in the context of marriage, family, education, work, medicine and bioethics, science and technology, political and ecclesial life. We sift through the many competing ideas of our age so that we might “hold fast to what is good” and let go of what is not. In addition to articles, witness pieces, and book reviews ArteFact: Film & Fiction searches out the human in the literary and cinematic arts.

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