I never used to be a wailer or fist banger. I didn’t understand what would drive people to do such things. That was before. Before my child’s brain broke. As my son slipped deeper into schizophrenia, I lost parts of myself, too. I lost my balance as I tried to navigate this bewildering maze of new behaviors and medical resources until I felt consumed by a rage and then a wailing cry to God to help me.
“It is good that you exist.”
This beautiful phrase from Principles of Catholic Theology by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (later Benedict XVI) succinctly captures the inherent truth underlying a Catholic understanding of supporting and loving those with a mental illness. Despite my instinct to argue that this is self-evident and simple, yet another pope reminds me that a Catholic understanding of mental illness requires important theological reflection and incorporation of the most updated neuropsychiatric knowledge in order to affirm this truth.