One of the tendencies of our age is to use the suffering of children to discredit the goodness of God, and once you have discredited his goodness, you are done with him…. Ivan Karamazov cannot believe, as long as one child is in torment; Camus’ hero [Rieux] cannot accept the divinity of Christ, because of the massacre of the innocents. In this popular piety, we mark our gain in sensibility and our loss in vision. If other ages felt less, they saw more, even though they saw with the blind, prophetic, unsentimental eye of acceptance, which is to say, faith. In the absence of this faith now, we govern by tenderness. It is a tenderness which, long since cut off from the person of Christ, is wrapped in theory. When tenderness is detached from the source of tenderness, its logical outcome is terror. It ends in forced-labor camps and in the fumes of the gas chambers….
Flannery O’Connor, in Flannery O’Connor: Spiritual Writings, ed. Robert Ellsberg (New York: Orbis Books, 2003), p. 148.