Considering the tragedy that has taken place in Haiti, the final verse of the Psalm at Mass today stings:
“Why do you hide your face,
forgetting our woe and our oppression?
For our souls are bowed down to the dust,
our bodies are pressed to the earth.”
It’s the question of the day.
Why does God permit the earth to rumble beneath us?
Why did God permit the earth to move under Haiti, the poorest nation in the Americas?
Frankly, the most truthful answer is that we simply do not know.
I believe in an all-powerful God. I do not know his will. I do not know why he permits his creation to suffer.
Lord, why do your pilgrim people face so many obstacles along the journey?
But, this I do know: no purpose is served by claiming that natural disasters are the reaction of a vengeful God. No purpose is served by asserting that our Creator singles out certain peoples for punishment because of the supposed deeds of their ancestors.
Yesterday, in commenting on the earthquake, television personality Pat Robertson made such a claim about a part of Haiti's history. (Note that I do not use the word “evangelist” or "Christian" in front of this man’s name. This is intentional.)
Pat Robertson caused discord on a day of great suffering. In fact, this is the second time he has done so in a time of crisis – casting a shadow on all of us who seek to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
This man should no longer be given deference by civic and religious leaders. He should no longer be consulted on matters of state and faith.
Mr. Robertson, I ask you to retire to a life of prayer, contemplation and repentance. You no longer belong in front of a television camera.