WHERE WAS GOD?

ROME, JAN. 20, 2005 (Zenit.org).- There are at least three lessons to be learned from the tsunami, says the latest issue of the review Civiltà Cattolica.The lessons are: the precariousness of human beings, the need for solidarity and the need for conversion.In the end, these three lessons spring from the answer to the question, “And where is God in all this?” says the article in an editorial.Drafts of the biweekly review are reviewed by the Vatican Secretariat of State before publication.”First of all, it must be said that to see divine punishment in natural disasters, because of men’s sins, is an error, which puts God, as revealed by Jesus in the Gospel, into question,” the editorial states.”God is a Father who takes care providentially of all his children, who forgives their sins; in particular, he takes care of the poor, of the little ones, and does not abandon those who suffer,” it continues.”His Providence consists in the fact that God can draw good for man even from the most painful and tragic situations in which disastrous events of nature place him, as well as from his wickedness and lack of wisdom,” the editorial states.”The way in which this takes place is a great mystery for us, but precisely because God is good we must think that he would not permit these painful and tragic events if he was not able and did not have the intention to bring good out of evil for men,” it continues. “In his paternal tenderness, God was close to each one of those children and saved them in his Kingdom.”This consideration leads the review to point out three lessons for contemporary people.First, this tragedy “should remind us of the condition of precariousness in which man’s life develops on earth.”This fact, the article suggests, should lead one to avoid the temptation planned by “the proud sense of omnipotence that some cultivate in today’s world, certain that man, with the impressive powers of scientific progress, will be able to defeat the forces of evil that can put an end to his well-being, health and life.”Second, the Asian tragedy “must be a call to solidarity,” suggests the review. “The real problem of the countries hit by the tsunami is that of reconstruction.””Unfortunately,” it laments, “science and technology do not move in this direction.””Suffice it to think of the enormous sums of money that might serve to give food and education to millions of people who die of hunger and to cure sicknesses, such as AIDS, which runs the risk of destroying a continent like Africa, and that, however, are wasted by the search for and construction of ever more terrible and deadly weapons as if the already existing immense arsenals of nuclear arms, which can destroy the planet many times over, were not sufficient.”Third, says the review, the tsunami is a call to “conversion,” the article explains, quoting Jesus, in Luke 13:4-5, in his response to news of the deadly accident of the tower of Siloam.
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