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St. Mary Magdalen's
Catholic Church
Willesden Green
London NW10
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Monday, January 25, 2010
A few days ago, through their partners Caritas, CAFOD had some significant success in trying to distribute food and water. Here’s their on the ground report:

Caritas had its first major aid distribution on Tuesday 19 January. So far distributions have been on a small scale because of security. But if you can secure an area you can scale up. […] in the end seven trucks arrive on the site. Two trucks come straight from the Dominican Republic, the other five from the Catholic Relief Services (Caritas USA) warehouse.

The distribution is at […] the golf club in Port-au-Prince […] There are about 25,000 people there who have lost their homes and are surviving under plastic sheeting. When we arrive, there are about 1,000 people […] They are behind a line of US soldiers. […] and soon there are about 5,000 people […]

The seven trucks bring about 1,000 family food kits in large buckets, each good for one family for two days, packages of water, and other items including plastic sheets. All the items are handed over by the Caritas volunteers to women only. It may not be enough for everyone present, but it’s a good start.

Last week we outlined the inappropriate argument put by one of the BBC’s most prominent journalists on prime time radio against the all-powerful and good God. He made clear that perennial Christian answers to these perennial natural tragedies were woefully inadequate (to him at least, that is). He went on, as if on a political issue, against the Anglican Bishop he was ‘interviewing’, “What you seem to be arguing for is the slot machine God ... the suffering that has been imposed upon the people of Haiti, many of them clearly innocent, is random.” The morning after the earthquake he made the centuries old point that, in the light of serious suffering, God cannot be both all-powerful and merciful.
And the perennial answer is: He is both, but not in the pre-conceived way that such secularists imagine. Not in the way that He would stop them, for instance, being relativists, or libertarian in their moral life. And they presumably would hate it if He did. Even God cannot stop us the results of human mistakes In belief and sin in action over the ages, which would be a contradiction of man’s defining freedom to love. And the poverty of Haiti which is rooted in the founding of the nation as a place of escape from the horrific Slave Trade (which, incidentally, the Church condemned from its beginning) is rooted in sin. Also humans’ lack of being in tune with the natural movement of our environment and the primitive state of our early warning systems are also probably linked with the fallen, wounded state of man. The wounded radio-receivers of our conscience and environmental sense has resulted from the first spiritual earthquake, and its fall-out across the generations, of the first human sin, and the after-tremors that follow subsequent sin.
Human freedom gives the opportunity to love, at the awful price of sin and some terrible suffering. We are fragile creatures loved by our creator. Even God cannot change that, but, through Christ on the Cross he is with us in it, and ensures that, in the end, it will have been worth it all.

posted by Sinead Reekie at 9:00 am