Matt C. Abbott
Coronavirus and divine chastisement
FacebookTwitterGoogle+
By Matt C. Abbott
March 13, 2020

Is the coronavirus (COVID-19) a divine chastisement?

I posed that question to Bishop Joseph E. Strickland of Tyler, Texas, and Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life.

Strickland wrote in an email to me (lightly edited):
    Some have asked if the coronavirus is some sort of divine chastisement. I believe our Catholic Tradition guides us to be cautious about this kind of assertion. Sin certainly has its consequences, and we live in a time when sin and ignoring God's Will seems to be the more dominant approach than seeking virtue.

    That said, our ancient faith guides us to take the long view; we might even say the eternal view. God so loves us that He gave us His own Son as our savior. But even as His Son walked this earth, God left every person free to choose to follow Him or not. The coronavirus, or any other malady we face in the world today, represents the human consequences of ignoring God's Will in our world. There are many threads to this, but simply naming a few: we can point to the animosity between nations, the focus on material wealth that devalues the person, the attempts we all make to control our own lives rather than looking to the Lord of all – the list is seemingly endless.

    Ultimately, rather than blaming God for His supposed chastisement, we should all look to our own hearts and our own choices. If I'm honest with myself, vulnerability to the coronavirus or any other evil rests to some degree on my shoulders. This is not to shift the blame from God to us, but instead, to leave aside the idea of blame and simply acknowledge that the consequence of sin and ignoring God's Will is always evil. The degree of the evil we encounter has an ebb and flow, but when I sin, I open the door to evil, and that is true for all of us – individually and globally.
Pavone wrote in an email to me (lightly edited):
    No, Catholics shouldn't see coronavirus as a divine chastisement. The world is wounded, physically and spiritually, because of sin. That's why there's sickness and death to begin with. So in a broad and general sense, we know that rebellion against God – Who is goodness Himself – results in evil. Still, Catholics should always be wary of viewing particular evils as punishments for particular sins.

    Of course, we know in our lives that particular sins will lead to particular bad consequences, and so they have a built-in evil consequence. But it requires far more speculation to connect a widespread disease with particular sins. Instead, a good Catholic approach is to use human reason and invoke the virtues of prudence and fortitude, with a good dose of trust in God.

    We have to be careful but not panicked, cautious but not discouraged, filled with faith but not foolish, and should be praying for the protection of all and the healing of those who are ill.
––––––––––––––––

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

© Matt C. Abbott

 

The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

Click to enlarge

Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He also has an Associate in Applied Science degree in business management from Triton College. Abbott has been interviewed on MSNBC, Bill Martinez Live, WOSU Radio in Ohio, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's 'Unsolved' podcast, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) and WISC-TV (CBS) in Madison, Wis., and has been quoted in The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and other media outlets. In 2005 and 2006, he was among the first writers to expose former cardinal Theodore McCarrick's abuse of power with and sexual harassment of seminarians. He can be reached at mattcabbott@gmail.com.

(Note: I welcome thoughtful feedback and story ideas. If you want our correspondence to remain confidential, please specify as such in your initial email to me. However, I reserve the right to forward and/or publish emails that are accusatory, insulting or threatening in nature, even if they're marked confidential. Also, if you give me permission to publish a quote of yours, please do not contact me at a later time to request that I delete your name. Only in limited circumstances will I quote anonymous sources. Thank you and God bless!)

Subscribe

Receive future articles by Matt C. Abbott: Click here

More by this author

 

Stephen Stone
'The fervent prayer of the righteous'

Siena Hoefling
Protect the Children: Update with VIDEO

Stephen Stone
Busted: Dems' fake claim that Trump and Utah congressional hopeful Burgess Owens want 'renewed nuclear testing' blows up when examined

Timothy Buchanan
Truth hangs in the balance...again

Rev. Mark H. Creech
Bowed but not broken under a wintry blast

Jake Jacobs
There is a specter haunting America; it is the specter of LEFTISM!

Laurie Roth
Just as the flag flew boldly on Sept 14, 1814, it waves in freedom for Trump and America now

Tom DeWeese
What do I mean by a Freedom Pod?

Joan Swirsky
Tucker goes Megyn

Mark Shepard
Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) ridicules CA Gov. Gavin Newsome for his idiotic Covid edicts

Rev. Mark H. Creech
Thanksgiving and the old, wet, bare rooster

Matt C. Abbott
My minor role in exposing McCarrick

Jerry Newcombe
America: 'A church relocation project'?

Kari Lee Fournier
Being thankful amidst America’s storm

Tom DeWeese
Demand legal action on election fraud
  More columns

Cartoons


Click for full cartoon
More cartoons

RSS feeds

News:
Columns:

Columnists

Matt C. Abbott
Chris Adamo
Russ J. Alan
Bonnie Alba
Jamie Freeze Baird
Chuck Baldwin
Kevin J. Banet
J. Matt Barber
. . .
[See more]

Sister sites