Wednesday, June 5, 2013



While coming home from Mass this morning, I heard a snippet of a radio program in which a spiritual advisor of sorts (I did not catch her name or her background.) discussing how she explained the Newtown massacre to a man who asked how God could let such a tragedy happen.

The advisor said she counseled the man to imagine that there must have been some higher purpose to the Newtown shootings, a higher and infinite purpose that we, as humans couldn’t possibly understand. She said the man went away somewhat comforted.

Whether the man who sought her counsel went away comforted, I don’t know. But to the advisor’s explanation of how God could have allowed Newtown, I can only say

“No! No! No!”

The “higher purpose” explanation assumes that God intended Newtown, and abominations like it, to occur in order to achieve that higher purpose. But God does not intend such horrific things, or even far less horrific things, to occur. The Newtown shooter was using his free will to defy God. It isn’t God’s will that the tragedies of human life occur, as some well meaning people often say after such horrible things take place. Such killings or other manifestations of man’s inhumanity, or worse, to man are done in defiance of God’s will.

Newtown was not, as the “higher purpose” explanation would imply, a case of someone saying “Yes” to God; Newtown was a case of someone saying “No” to God, even if unconsciously.

Will God do all that He can, within the confines of the restrictions His human agents put on Him, to make the best of such ghastly events as Newtown? Yes. Will some good consequently come of them? Yes. But that does not mean that God somehow intended such tragedies to occur in order to achieve what good can be salvaged from them. The relatively very small good that can and usually does arise from such unspeakable tragedies is a case of God trying to make the best of a horrible situation that He clearly did not intend.


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