John Kerry on His Return to Christian Faith: Suffering Is Part of God's Plan

Sec. of State John Kerry spoke Sunday about losing his faith in God while a soldier in the Vietnam War, then returning to his Catholic faith after an "epiphany" that suffering is part of God's plan.

After the Vietnam War shook his faith, correspondent Martha Raddatz asked on ABC's "This Week," "how did you get that back?"

Kerry answered that he thought a lot about it; his "epiphany" came from reading parts of scripture about suffering and realizing that, given the free will provided by God, people are responsible for certain events here on Earth.

"It just occurred to me that there still is a purpose in God's work that defines itself differently from the ways one might superficially think," Kerry said. "You read the letters of St. Paul and you read other parts of the scripture and it talks about suffering and it talks about adversity. And I sort of began to put that in a better place. Not see it so much as, you know, a determinative God who makes every decision for everything that happens. But rather creates a framework within which we're responsible for making things happen."

He added President John F. Kennedy "pretty well sums it up" when he said, "here on Earth, God's work must truly be our own."

The interview took place in Vietnam. After returning from the war, Kerry came out against the war, and famously testified before Congress. More recently, though, he has worked with fellow Senate colleague and Vietnam veteran John McCain (R-Ariz.) on normalizing relations with Vietnam. Kerry was the Democratic presidential nominee in 2004 and McCain was the Republican presidential nominee in 2008.

Raddatz also asked Kerry if he thinks about the fact that he killed someone while a soldier.

"Yeah sometimes," he answered. "But I don't get stuck there. I just, I always refuse to get stuck there. Kind of a purposeful decision. It happened, is what it was, we were in a war. And it ended. And my goal became the future. My goal became how do we take that and make something better out of it?"

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