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Jerry Falwell regrets.

Rev. Jerry Falwell, spokesman for Evangelical Protestants in the U.S.A., brought the full weight of media scorn upon himself by his remarks following the terrorist attacks on September 11. In a broadcast on September 13, he said that the attacks were God's judgment on the United States because of the influence of abortion supporters, homosexual activists, and groups like the American Civil Liberties Union. Pat Robertson, the host of this program, the 700 Club TV show, indicated his agreement.

Media commentators immediately slammed Falwell's remarks. In addition, Falwell was criticized by President Bush, who said that he did not share the minister's views and believed them to be "inappropriate."

Timothy George, editor of Christianity Today, said that "to equate this act with divine judgment--as if the Lord had conspired with the attackers to sacrifice the workers in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and the passengers in the four airplanes--violates the most cherished tenets of the Christian faith." His column was headed "Falwell and Folly."

The message the United States wanted to hear, Mr. George said, was that delivered by Billy Graham--that God is a God of love and mercy, and that we hope to feel His loving arms wrapped around us in times of crisis and know that He will never forsake us.

On September 17, Falwell issued an apology, saying that his remarks had been "insensitive, uncalled for at the time, and unnecessary." "The only label any of us needs in such a terrible time of crisis is American," he said. He added that his lifelong theological conviction has been that it is not possible to know that a particular event reflects God's judgment.

Comment:

It was certainly foolish and wrong of Rev. Mr. Falwell to say what he did. But we do well to remember that his principal point--divine retribution because of man's sinning against God and his commandments--is a major truth of the Judaeo- Christian tradition.

That's why comments such as those of the Toronto Star columnist Dalton Camp are themselves absurd (Sept. 23/ 01, "Falwell and friend good reason to separate church and state.") In order to disavow the truth of their message, Camp ridiculed the two evangelists and portrayed them as greedy TV shysters.

Catholics know better. When Our Lady appeared to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima in 1917, she horrified them with a vision of souls in torment and explain that this was hell where the souls of poor sinners go. "To save them," she explained, "God wishes to establish in the world the devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If they do what I will tell you, many souls will be saved, and there will be peace. The war is going to end. But if they do not stop offending God, another and worse one will begin in the reign of Pius XI." As so often, the message God sends is the need for repentance.
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Title Annotation:comments on causes of World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks
Publication:Catholic Insight
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2001
Words:486
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