Hi, Karcher —
Corporal mortification was a distorted
manifestation of a misinterpretation
of a legitimate idea. The legitimate
idea is that suffering is redemptive.
For a brief treatment of the subject,
For a more complete treatment, see
John Paul II's work:
The distortion is that, if suffering
is redemptive, then suffering is
good, and if suffering is good, then
more suffering is better; so let's
cause ourselves to suffer, so that
good things happen.
One can see how this idea might
arise, but what they didn't realize
is that the suffering only heals
us if it is unavoidable suffering
that we are enduring. We only make
problems for ourselves
if we inflict it deliberately on
ourselves, or refuse to take common
sense approaches to resolving suffering.
- If you have an incurable disease
with pain that cannot be stopped,
- If you are injured with a readily
curable injury, but refuse treatment,
thinking the suffering will be "good
for you", you are just an
- If you are in a
third world prison on account
of the Gospel, and you are cold,
that suffering is redemptive.
- If you leave your
coat off so you can voluntarily
suffer, again, you are just an
I hope this helps!