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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

A Response to Evil

The Catholic Church teaches:

 The fact that God permits physical and even moral evil is a mystery that God illuminates by his Son Jesus Christ who died and rose to vanquish evil. Faith gives us the certainty that God would not permit an evil if he did not cause a good to come from that very evil, by ways that we shall fully know only in eternal life.  (Catechism of the Catholic Church, Paragraph 324).

Suffice to say much of what the Church teaches must be accepted on Faith.  I know that my journey Home involved my realizing that if the Church is right about some of the really obvious and important stuff, then I should be willing to accept that she is right about stuff I don't quite understand.  In other words, Jesus was either lying or telling the Truth when He said that the gates of hell would not prevail against the Church He founded.  Jesus is God.  God cannot lie.  It is logical to believe, therefore, that the Church cannot be overcome by the forces of hell, though it is also pretty evident that in her 2thousand year history hell has given her a run for her money.

I accept, therefore, that God does not cause evil but allows evil - both physical and moral - and that from that evil will come great good.  I accept it and I believe it...but I would be telling you a lie if I told you that it is an easy teaching.

The events I Orlando are just more of what makes this teaching so difficult.  In a short period of time I have watched high school students in Colorado kill their teachers and fellow students, men who have hijacked their own religion fly planes into buildings, madmen shoot up movie theaters and elementary schools and young women whose only 'crime' was to get drunk at a party be ravaged by equally young men - some of whom were supposedly friends of their victims.  I've cried when pedophiles have been paraded in front of the television cameras on their 'perp walks' and watched in horror as Christians were beheaded in the name of God.  I've seen incredible acts of heroism by men and women in uniform and I have been horrified by those in authority abusing the power we give them in order to protect us from harm. 

I have seen a lot, though I would not pretend to have seen it all.

Yes, it is a hard teaching.  It is a teaching that boggles the mind and is often rejected by those who despise His Church and my religion.  I am called a fool to cling to it - yet, cling to it I must.

To believe that God can pull great good from the physical and moral evil that is in the world does not excuse the evildoer.  Nor does it mean that those of us who accept this hard teaching are naïve bubble heads who think the world is full of unicorns and pastel rainbows.  Trust me, we are struggling with the same thing other people struggle with when it comes to a horror like Orlando.  We struggle with the shock, with the disbelief, with our own anger and our own knee jerk want for revenge.  I am having a hard time praying for this perpetrator.  I am having a difficult time with people who think I am not being a supporter of the US Constitution because I dare to voice my belief that a man questioned twice by the FBI because of his out loud admiration for ISIL and the Boston Marathon Bombers should not have been able to legally obtain an AR15 assault rifle. 

I am angry at his ex-wife who endured physical abuse from this man and yet never left a trail that shows he is an abuser of women, which might have shown up and somehow prevented this nut job from obtaining that weapon.

Yet, through it all is my belief that some sort of great good is going to come from this and I strain to look for it now.  I see glimpses.  I see it in the young Iman who declared on Television that this man was not the face of Islam.  I see it in the post by the Muslim American giving blood for the victims. 

My hope is that this is the last attack we face on American soil.  My hope is that more and more people will rise up and throw out those who would attack us before that next attack can occur.

My hope is that the great good that comes from this evil will be the unification of my country so that those who hate us will slink away, vanquished and banished to outer darkness.

Meanwhile, I will pray.  I will pray for the souls of the dead and the healing of those that will be scarred and bruised and broken for a long time.  I pray for the family of the perpetrator and the families burying their dead.  Most of all I pray for my country, that this not tear us further apart.

Let's be one nation, under God, and pledge to live our lived in Liberty and Justice for all.

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