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Italian bishop: don't use God as 'scapegoat' for earthquake damage

August 31, 2016

"God must not be used as a scapegoat," said an Italian mayor during a state funeral for the victims of last week's devastating earthquake.

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Bishop Domenico Pompili of Rieti argued that "the earthquake does not kill; men's works kill." He reminded mourners that a loving God cares for his children, and that earthquakes are natural forces that shaped the beauty of the area.

Bishop Pompili warned against allowing political disputes to interfere with the reconstruction of the region. "We must revive the beauty of which we are guardians," he said. To abandon the area because of the damage would be to "kill it a second time," he said.

Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner, also attended the state funeral, representing Pope Francis. He planned to distribute rosaries to all the families of earthquake victims in the village of Amatrice, where 231 people killed. 


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  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Sep. 01, 2016 3:41 PM ET USA

    Earthquakes are among the many physical evils used by God to build proven character and hope in Christ. The earthquake itself is morally neutral; however, the human consequences are felt as physical evils.

  • Posted by: jalsardl5053 - Sep. 01, 2016 2:33 AM ET USA

    Read the reference. Bishop Pompili has two concerns: 1) abandonment of the area and 2) how any reconstruction might proceed in an orderly non-selfish manner. To do otherwise is to effectively kill the area; hence, men's works kill (the spirit) which the earthquake cannot.

  • Posted by: bruno.cicconi7491 - Aug. 31, 2016 3:30 PM ET USA

    That is not convincing. It is not that "God should be made a scapegoat" - the earthquake happened because He allowed it to happen. What do we do about it, now? Be intrigued, know that His will is good even though we cannot understand it at present, but not say that this was not His will, because it was.