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St. Mary Magdalen's
Catholic Church
Willesden Green
London NW10
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Monday, January 18, 2010
ANOTHER EARTHQUAKE- 17th January 2010
Today we pray for the souls of those killed in the appalling Haiti earthquake, and for the comfort and healing in mind and body of the survivors. Next weekend we will have the chance to give monies towards these newly needy in an “Emergency Retiring collection” through the auspices of CAFOD.

“But who do we pray to? The God who allowed all these people to die?“ rang out the first question of the prominent BBC journalist’s prime time question on the popular Radio 4 Today programme, the very morning after the horrific earthquake. A gallant Anglican Bishop had gone into the lion’s den to witness to our loving, all powerful, God against an apparently incredulous BBC. “Why did God allow this to happen?” was the next of a series of unrelenting and morally outraged questions from the BBC’s link man of their main news discussion programme.

A less charitable Christian leader might have alluded to the inappropriateness of such unsympathetic taking sides. For this is a truly delicate and painful issue which has been much discussed and struggled with over the course of the many natural disasters which have publicly afflicted human communities, over the centuries – as well as those much more private freak tragedies and accidents that have so wounded particular families and individuals. We do have things to say on this, and a Saviour who has died upon the Cross in tragic, painful, apparently hopeless circumstances. Is this long-term reflection to be regarded as of little value in order to make an exciting, hard-hitting interview?

Even if the Today programme’s anger at the good God is truly the righteous indignation they seem to present it as, this wouldn’t disprove the existence of an absolute, all powerful intelligence behind the cosmos – just his goodness. Moreover if the materialists view that there is no final meaning in the universe is right then on what basis do they have any “righteousness” or outrage at us believers or our God at all, why should suffering matter, on what basis do they propose any right and wrong, except in a purely relativist manner?

Then the questioner argued that this “imposition” of suffering in Haiti is clearly “random”. The journalist argued against the traditional God of monotheism as both good and all-powerful. As mentioned above this issue has been much discussed over the centuries, in sermons here and in this space (see our website!) Given the relentless nature of the incredulous secularism that engulfs us we’ll probably try again next week. Meanwhile, let us pray, hope & be compassionate.

posted by Sinead Reekie at 9:17 am