Thursday, January 14, 2010

God doesn't work that way

In our first reading today we have one of many examples in the scriptures where faithfulness to God did not protect the people from experiencing defeat. Despite the numerous example in the bible of the good suffering (including Jesus) and the bad prospering (God rains on the just and unjust, rain being a good thing), there are still those who think of God as Santa, "making a list, checking it twice" and handing our riches and punishment all day long.

Pat Robertson's declaration that the earthquake and all the problems of Haiti including crushing poverty were the result of God punishing them for having made a pact with the devil to free them from French control is absurd in many ways, but does serve to remind us that all faiths are not, as some want to say "equally valid," and ecumenism does not call us to declare that we should respect all Christian perspectives without regard for the truth.

For us as Catholics, ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue begin with the belief that some things are true and some are not, like Robertson's absurd understanding of God. Our Catholic Faith calls us to respect whatever is true, in another Church or ecclesial community or faith's teaching, but to, with love, clearly name what is wrong.

We are called to love our neighbor, but if we truly love someone we tell them when they are headed down a wrong road. There is nothing contradictory or hypocritical about saying, I respect the equal dignity of the person of Pat Robertson, and simultaneously call his interpretation of the Christian faith absurdly wrong.

Let us continue to pray for the people of Haiti, and continue to pray for all people that they may come to the knowledge of the truth, remembering God willa that all be saved and "come to knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim 2:4)