Why Do Children Suffer?
Pope Bergoglio Has No Answer.
by Christopher A. Ferrara
May 29, 2017
Pope Bergoglio seems to have a penchant for visiting pediatric hospitals and telling impressionable children that he has “no answer” to the question why God allows them to suffer and, moreover, that Jesus Himself has “no answer.”
In December of last year, during a visit to the Bambino Gesù children’s hospital, Pope Bergoglio was asked by a nurse why God allows children to suffer — a standard objection to the infinite goodness of God in favor of a limited human view of compassion. Instead of reminding the nurse of God’s eternal perspective and His infallible providence, which draws a greater good out of every evil, even for the suffering child whose destiny is eternal beatitude, Bergoglio pandered to the objection and gave this disturbing answer:
“I have no answer to this question. Nor has Jesus given an answer to these words. There is no answer to this question, all we can do is look at the crucifix and let it give us the answer”.
He did it again two days ago (May 27) during a visit to Giannina Gaslini pediatric hospital in Genoa, where he declared:
“Many times I ask myself and return to the question: why do children suffer? And I find no explanation. I only look upon the Cross and stop there.”
Really? No explanation at all for why children suffer? One can only look at the Cross and let it provide some sort of inchoate answer? Is that the best the Vicar of Christ can do to comfort suffering children and their distraught parents?
But then, if Pope Bergoglio has “no answer” and can find “no explanation” for why children suffer, then what is his answer to the question why adults suffer, or indeed why there is any suffering at all in this world? For that matter, why does God permit evil of any kind to befall the innocent? No answer there either?
Let us pursue the Bergoglian perplexity further: Why does God, as Scripture attests, visit chastisements on His people, including children? Why, even in the Message of Fatima, do we receive a warning from the very Mother of God that the penalty for failing to heed the Message is the divine chastisement of the world, children included? And why do we see that very chastisement taking place in the Third Secret vision, which depicts an avenging angel raining destruction upon a devastated city, followed by the execution of a wounded Pope and members of the hierarchy?
And the ultimate questions: Why did God banish Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden on account of their disobedience, depriving them of their original state of perfect integrity and happiness? Why did He allow Original Sin to wound all of the subsequent generations of humanity, bringing personal sin and its terrible consequences into the world? Has Pope Bergoglio no answer to these questions either, even though the answer is found in the dogmas of our Faith concerning the Fall of man, the consequences of Original Sin, and the freedom of the human will?
The answer to all these questions — the answer one might expect from a Pope, for Heaven’s sake — begins with the infinite goodness of God, acting from His eternal perspective, the God “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim. 2:4) The answer ends with the divine revelation, echoed by Saint Paul, that “the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come, that shall be revealed in us.” (Rom. 8:18)
To say there is no answer to the problem of suffering is implicitly to call into question the goodness and justice of God, thereby lending credence to the crudest of the arguments for atheism, as summarized by Saint Thomas Aquinas:
“It seems that God does not exist; because if one of two contraries be infinite, the other would be altogether destroyed. But the word ‘God’ means that He is infinite goodness. If, therefore, God existed, there would be no evil discoverable; but there is evil in the world. Therefore, God does not exist.”
But as Saint Thomas, citing Saint Augustine, teaches in line with all of Tradition: “As Augustine says (Enchiridion xi): ‘Since God is the highest good, He would not allow any evil to exist in His works, unless His omnipotence and goodness were such as to bring good even out of evil.’ This is part of the infinite goodness of God, that He should allow evil to exist, and out of it produce good.”
Thus, the answer to the question that the Faith provides, even if it eludes Pope Bergoglio, is that the bad things that happen to good people in this world are not bad things at all from the divine and eternal perspective: The child who suffers and dies attains eternal beatitude, thus avoiding a path in life that would have led him to Hell. The saints who suffer are brought into closer union with God and ultimately eternal bliss through their suffering — indeed, they welcome their suffering for that very reason. The worst of sinners is brought to his knees by the only measure that could have secured his repentance: suffering.
Yet even from a purely worldly perspective the question has an answer: Suppose, for example, that a child running into the path of an oncoming truck trips, falls and breaks his arm before he reaches the roadway? Everyone would acknowledge that it was “a good thing” the child tripped and broke his arm. Everyone, perhaps, except the current occupant of the Chair of Peter, who essentially professes to be baffled by the entire human condition, even though divine revelation, as explicated and defended by the Church of which he is the earthly head, has always offered the answer to what some call the problem of evil.