Earthquake in Haiti is not punishment from God, says cardinal

.- Archbishop of Santo Domingo, Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez, has firmly rejected the idea that the tragedy in Haiti was a punishment from God, as some have claimed.

In an exclusive interview with Catholic News Agency, Cardinal Lopez Rodriguez “emphatically” rejected the thought that God willed the January 12 earthquake as a punishment, as some reporters had suggested in recent questions to the cardinal.

“I have always maintained that God is a God of love. God can permit this in order to shake the consciences of insensitive people who see so many in need but do nothing,” he explained.

“We are helping many people while others have washed their hands of this,” the cardinal continued.  For this reason, he said, “I emphatically reject the idea that this is a punishment from God.  How can God be pleased with the deaths of so many? I completely reject that, and besides, theologically that cannot be explained.”

Cardinal Lopez Rodriguez said these kinds of disasters, like the tsunami that struck Indonesia in 2004, also have their origin in man’s sin. In response, “Christian men and women must have hope.”

After expressing his sorrow over the tragic situation in Haiti, the cardinal called for “absolute solidarity” from all countries, “including the United States and Canada,” as the Dominican Republic is not capable of responding to this emergency alone.

On Wednesday the cardinal celebrated a special Mass with the other bishops of the Dominican Republic to pray for the eternal rest of all who died in the disaster.

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