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By Fr. Matthew Solomon, Crisis Magazine, April 16, 2020
Fr. Matthew Solomon writes from his parish in Sydney, Australia.
Anyone with faith in God could easily conclude that the current crisis has all the hallmarks of divine punishment, especially here in Australia given the recent drought, fires, smoke, floods, and now plague. It is beginning to sound all a bit biblical, like the book of Exodus, especially having just been through Lent. If we combine that feeling with some of the recent moral and political battles we have fought and lost in Australia, together with the moral decline of Western civilization in the post-War era, there seems to be mounting evidence for the case that God is punishing the world. If you and I are upset with the direction of the world, it is not a step too far to imagine what God Almighty must think. Hence the question: is this God’s punishment?
The short answer is no, although the answer is not an obvious one. It is not God’s punishment for two simple reasons. The first is that God does not punish the innocent. It is offensive to God’s perfect nature that He would abandon His infinite goodness and act capriciously. It is an obviously human fault that when we do not get our way we want to “get our way, come hell or high water.” This is not God’s way. I will leave aside Noah’s flood and the Israelite exodus from Egypt for the moment, for I might address them at another time. …