I apologize for having been away from the keys all day. I’m in New York doing Templeton stuff, and haven’t been able to find a wifi connection at the places I’ve been. I woke up this morning to the terrible news from Haiti. The latest from the NYT:
Calling the death toll “unimaginable” as he surveyed the wreckage, Haiti’s president, René Préval, said he had no idea where he would sleep. Schools, hospitals and a prison collapsed. Sixteen United Nations peacekeepers were killed and at least 140 United Nations workers were missing, including the chief of its mission, Hédi Annabi. The city’s archbishop, Msgr. Joseph Serge Miot, was feared dead.
And the poor who define this nation squatted in the streets, some hurt and bloody, many more without food and water, close to piles of covered corpses and rubble. Limbs protruded from disintegrated concrete, muffled cries emanated from deep inside the wrecks of buildings — many of them poorly constructed in the first place — as Haiti struggled to grasp the unknown toll from its worst earthquake in more than 200 years.
When confronted by the sheer savage immensity of worldly suffering–when we see the entire littoral rim of the Indian Ocean strewn with tens of thousands of corpses, a third of them children’s–no Christian is licensed to utter odious banalities about God’s inscrutable counsels or blasphemous suggestions that all this mysteriously serves God’s good ends. We are permitted only to hate death and waste and the imbecile forces of chance that shatter living souls, to believe that creation is in agony in its bonds, to see this world as divided between two kingdoms–knowing all the while that it is only charity that can sustain us against “fate,” and that must do so until the end of days.
I don’t see much use in theodicy in the face of what the poor Haitians are enduring. I see only the impetus to act to relieve their pain. If you want to give, here is information for how to donate to the Red Cross’s Haitian relief fund. Please, do the right thing for these poorest of the world’s poor, who now have less than nothing.