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COMMENTARY: The key to interpreting rightly the biblical passages on divine chastisement is to read them in light of the distinction between God’s positive will and his permissive will.
By Mary Healy, EWTN News, 4/8/20
Mary Healy, S.T.D., is professor of Scripture at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit.
Is the coronavirus pandemic a judgment from God? It is a question being debated by many Christians — even bishops and cardinals.
Pope Francis, in the extraordinary prayer service broadcast live from an empty St. Peter’s Square on March 27, prayed:
“Lord, you are calling to us, calling us to faith. … It is not the time of your judgment, but of our judgment: a time to choose what matters and what passes away, a time to separate what is necessary from what is not.”
On the other hand, some theologians and ordinary people have noted that many passages in Scripture speak of calamities, including pestilence (deadly infectious disease), as God’s judgment on human sin.
God warns his people, for instance, that if they rebel against him, “I will send pestilence among you, and you shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy” (Leviticus 26:25). Even in the New Testament, the Book of Revelation depicts a rider on a pale horse who was “given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth” (Revelation 6:8). …