Preaching: Backtalk from the Pew

At the noon Mass in the nursingschool dormitory of Boston College one Sunday this month, Father F. X. Shea let it be known that the subject of the sermon was pain. But instead of delivering a homily, he challenged his congregation of 27 students to explain what pain meant to them. "There's a lot to be gained in suffering, and a nurse can help a patient learn that," said one girl. "But does the God you believe in have a vested interest in pain, to make people grow by insights through pain?" challenged...