Suffering Dissertation, Are EWTN executives “culpably negligent”?

August 7, 2014 by  
Filed under Dialogues


Per your remark below explain what mean about either (a) suffering being an evil. Note consider that Jesus did suffer per the symbol of Nicea and to say that suffering is an evil would be to say Jesus did evil.
2. Or that the world does not drive (many) men through suffering to seek, serve, and love God and to be justified (by grace) to live with Him in the eternal (i.e. become a great saint). Or are you saying that becoming a saint isn’t a good thing? You’re certainly not going to declare that anyone got to be a saint without suffering? Even the BVM suffered at the foot of the cross. Or are you saying that God didn’t forsee Adam’s sin and prepare in creation the world for that?

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  • New Apologetics Our response will be in two parts. 

    Part 1:

    The Church teaches definitively that suffering and death are evils which are contrary to the plans of God:

    “It can be said that man suffers whenever he experiences any kind of evil. In the vocabulary of the Old Testament, suffering and evil are identified with each other. In fact, that vocabulary did not have a specific word to indicate “suffering”. Thus it defined as ” evil” everything that was suffering. Only the Greek language, and together with it the New Testament (and the Greek translations of the Old Testament), use the verb * = “I am affected by …. I experience a feeling, I suffer”; and, thanks to this verb, suffering is no longer directly identifiable with (objective) evil, but expresses a situation in which man experiences evil and in doing so becomes the subject of suffering. Suffering has indeed both a subjective and a passive character (from “patior“). Even when man brings suffering on himself, when he is its cause, this suffering remains something passive in its metaphysical essence. (John Paul II)

    “Christianity proclaims the essential good of existence and the good of that which exists, acknowledges the goodness of the Creator and proclaims the good of creatures. Man suffers on account of evil, which is a certain lack, limitation or distortion of good. We could say that man suffers because of a good in which he does not share, from which in a certain sense he is cut off, or of which he has deprived himself. He particularly suffers when he “ought” — in the normal order of things — to have a share in this good and does not have it. (John Paul II)

    “Death is a consequence of sin. The Church’s Magisterium, as authentic interpreter of the affirmations of Scripture and Tradition, teaches that death entered the world on account of man’s sin. Even though man’s nature is mortal, God had destined him not to die. Death was therefore contrary to the plans of God the Creator and entered the world as a consequence of sin. Bodily death, from which man would have been immune had he not sinned is thus the last enemy of man left to be conquered.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1008)

    “I think it useful to inquire into the nature of death; whether it is to be ranked among good or among evil things. Now if death be considered absolutely in itself, without doubt it must be called an evil, because that which is opposed to life we must admit cannot be good.” (Fr. Cantalamessa)

    “Moreover, as the Wise man saith: ‘God made not death, but by the envy of the devil, death came into the world.’ (Wisdom 11:13-24) With these words St. Paul also agrees, when he saith: ‘Wherefore as by one man sin entered into this world, and by sin death: and so death passed upon all men in whom all have sinned.’ Romans 5:12. If then God did not make death, certainly it cannot be good, because everything which God hath made is good, according to the words of Moses: ‘And God saw all things that he had made, and they were very good.'” (Fr. Cantalamessa)

    We will continue our response in a comment immediately following this one.
  • New Apologetics Part 2

    In our first response, we showed that it is Catholic teaching that suffering and death are evils. But God has *conquered* those evils by transforming their meaning through the redemption. Any meaning or purpose found in human suffering is not because of the suffering itself, but because of what Christ has accomplished by taking all of our suffering to himself. Through God’s union with every suffering person, the meaning of human destiny has been transformed, and the destructive power of suffering and death is overcome:

    “When one says that Christ by his mission strikes at evil at its very roots, we have in mind not only evil and definitive, eschatological suffering (so that man “should not perish, but have eternal life”), but also — at least indirectly toil and suffering in their temporal and historical dimension.” (John Paul II) 

    “Only a God who loves us to the extent of taking upon himself our wounds and our pain, especially innocent suffering, is worthy of faith.” (Benedict XVI, Urbi et Orbi Message, Easter 2007).

    “Because he is the Son, he sees with total clarity the whole foul flood of evil, all the power of lies and pride, all the wiles and cruelty of the evil that masks itself as life yet constantly serves to destroy, debase, and crush life. Because he is the Son, he experiences deeply all the horror, filth, and baseness that he must drink from the “chalice” prepared for him: the vast power of sin and death. All this he must take into himself, so that it can be disarmed and defeated in him.” (John Paul II)

    “Thou didst send him from Heaven into the Virgin’s womb; he was conceived and was incarnate, and was shown to be thy Son, born of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin; Who, fulfilling thy will and preparing for thee a holy people, stretched out his hands in suffering, that he might free from suffering them that believed on thee.” (Early Eucharistic Canon)

    “One can say that with the Passion of Christ all human suffering has found itself in a new situation. And it is as though Job has foreseen this when he said: ‘I know that my Redeemer lives …’, and as though he had directed towards it his own suffering, which without the Redemption could not have revealed to him the fullness of its meaning.” (John Paul II)

    “Suffering, a consequence of original sin, acquires a new meaning; it becomes a participation in the saving work of Jesus.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1521)

    “Entrust to the Lord the discomfort and pain you have to face, and in His plan you will become means of purification and redemption for the entire world.” (Benedict XVI)

    Please ask questions as they come to mind.
  • New Apologetics James, are you interested in continuing the discussion?

    You wrote:
    Why is there suffering? 
    1. The claim that suffering is an evil runs contrary to our Lord’s instruction that his disciples must pick up their crosses and carry them. Suffering is required to get to heaven.

    We reply:
    Suffering is not required to get to heaven. What is required is perseverance in *love* despite the suffering (i.e. the experience of evil) that comes to us. If suffering were the condition, then those who have suffered the most would be the most like Christ. But it is not always so. To carry the cross means that we remain in love despite the fact that it would be easier to compromise with evil. 

    You wrote:
    2. Why is suffering required? As M. Angelica stated on her show the world is a giant saint making machine. Suffering makes saints. That is what is good about the world.

    We reply:
    Suffering can, through the grace of God, teach us very much. However, suffering can also destroy a person. Many sufferings are so horrible that they have no possible instructive value at all, but are simply the rape of innocence. God is not the one orchestrating such things. 

    If Mother Angelica stated that God made the world this way in order to make saints, then her statement is provably contrary to the teaching of the Church, and those in charge of EWTN are culpably negligent for allowing such teaching to be broadcast. 

    Ideas like what you describe are simply *lies* about God. Such beliefs are more of a threat to Christianity than any other thing, including the devil himself. Indeed, these errors (perpetuated by well-intentioned Christians and Catholics) are the primary reason why the devil has power in the world:

    “Mark tells us that Jesus ‘began to be greatly distressed and troubled’. The Lord says to his disciples: ‘My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch’ (14:33-34)… The summons to vigilance has already been a major theme of Jesus’ Jerusalem teaching, and now it emerges directly with great urgency. And yet, while it refers specifically to Gethsemane, it also points ahead to the later history of Christianity. Across the centuries, it is the drowsiness of the disciples that opens up possibilities for the power of the Evil One. Such drowsiness deadens the soul, so that it remains undisturbed by the power of the Evil One at work in the world and by all the injustice and suffering ravaging the earth… In its state of numbness, the soul prefers not to see all this; it is easily persuaded that things cannot be so bad, so as to continue in the self satisfaction of its own comfortable existence. Yet this deadening of souls, this lack of vigilance regarding both God’s closeness and the looming forces of darkness, is what gives the Evil One power in the world. On beholding the drowsy disciples, so disinclined to rouse themselves, the Lord says: ‘My soul is very sorrowful, even to death.’ This is a quotation from Psalm 43:5, and it calls to mind other verses from the Psalms.” (John Paul II)
  • New Apologetics “Let the faithful rejoice in their glory,
    shout for joy and take their rest.
    Let the praise of God be on their lips
    and a two-edged sword in their hand,
    to deal out vengeance to the nations
    and punishment on all the peoples;
    to bind their kings in chains
    and their nobles in fetters of iron;
    to carry out the sentence pre-ordained:
    this honor is for all his faithful.” (Psalm 149)

    Just so you know, God is not the one who caused your loss. Your grief is such that you have forgotten that you are made in his image. The one who caused your loss is the one you will bind in chains. God is putting a sword of vengeance into your hand against the one who harms innocence. But first, you have to know that God is not the one who made the world this way.
  • Patrick Andrei M. Tupas have you heard the story of Job? . . try to read it in the bible. just try to read it, if you like  . .
  • New Apologetics Patrick Andrei M. Tupas We have. Did you know that Job is part of a progressive revelation? It is a story intended to debunk the early Jewish belief that suffering is the result of our individual and familial moral failures. In describing how suffering has struck an innocent person, the author of Job is writing a skeptical critique of the ideology of his day. He uses the idea of a bet between God and Satan as a *framework* for the story. It is not intended as a literal theological truth. Furthermore, Job is not the final word on suffering as revealed by Sacred Scripture. Jesus is the final word. He came to conquer suffering and death. He healed everyone he could, and never made anyone sick. If we read the Bible literally, without considering that the revelation unfolds gradually, then it is full of contradictions. This is why God gave us the Magisterium of the Church to protect us from error.
  • Scott Maddox New Apologetics

    Job is a good example of God consciously allowing bad things to happen to good people. It had nothing to do with man’s evil towards his fellow man or evil existing in the world. It was evil specifically approved by God. Satan requested permission and God gave it to him. What if Satan asks God if he can flood the world again but not tell anybody to build an ark? Is God going to approve that request too?
  • New Apologetics Scott Maddox We direct your attention to our response immediately above your statement about Job. You are mistaking the framework of the story for literal theological truth.
  • Scott Maddox How do you tell the difference between the literal parts and the allegorical parts?
  • New Apologetics Scott Maddox Scholarship, Sacred Tradition, Magisterial teaching, theology, philosophy, science, literary criticism etc. 

    The literal interpretation of the Bible is not the only means of knowledge. Those who say otherwise are very much impaired.
  • Scott Maddox And the only objective one of those that you mentioned is science. Science will tell you that the Bible is either wrong or fictional/allegorical, but definitely not factual.