Nature Suffers From Man’s Sin

We know from history and archeology that bustling metropolises have witnessed rapid and total devastation. Such cataclysmic events can be divine chastisements (e.g., Sodom and Gomorrah). Sadly, theistic evolution has conditioned us to see man-harming natural disasters as mere manifestations of the “normal” course of nature. Such a perspective can lead people to doubt the Message of Fatima and the conditional prophecies made by Our Lady.

Therefore, it is helpful to recall once again a concrete example of a saint of modern times who clearly saw the connection between sin and disorders in nature – St. Anthony Mary Claret (1807-1870), the founder of the Claretian Fathers.

Clear Evidence of God’s Adorable Mercy

St. Anthony was sent from Spain to Cuba as a missionary bishop in the middle of the nineteenth century, to restore order to the Church in that country. Through many trials and tribulations, including a nearly-fatal attempt on his life, the holy archbishop spearheaded a complete reform of the Church. The following account describes his prophetic response to disorders in nature, first in the form of an earthquake and then in the form of a deadly disease.

St. Anthony Mary Claret (1807-1870)

It was August 20, 1852. Archbishop Claret was preaching a Mission in Bayamo [Cuba], a town more than thirty leagues[1] from the capital. One night the people noticed something extraordinary in the holy missionary. This strangeness was reflected in the pallor of his face and in the tremor of his voice. He began his sermon as was his custom, with full force, but at the most ardent and stirring point of his eloquence, he suddenly became silent; then directing himself to his audience, who looked at him in consternation, he pronounced these prophetic words:

Devastation in Cuba

“Let us pray to God for our brethren, residents of Santiago de Cuba, because they are in great tribulation. Tomorrow we shall go to console them.” “But what happened in Santiago?,” an eyewitness writes in detail. He says: “A subterranean noise of thunder was heard, and from that moment everything moved; buildings vibrated; furniture in the rooms moved; window panes and doors creaked; houses and churches tottered, and walls and roofs fell to pieces; the inhabitants were terror stricken, and not feeling secure in their homes, they went out into the patios, streets, and plazas. A glacial terror froze the blood in their veins. They stood still and remained silent, looking at each other without being able to explain what was happening. With a terrified voice they cried: ‘Mercy! Mercy!’

Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of the Assumption in Santiago de Cuba

“The archbishop arrived. On seeing thousands of his children dispersed through the fields, the streets covered with debris, houses in ruins, the episcopal palace torn down, the churches crumbled, the Cathedral rent and the altars broken, moved to profound pity by the tragic sight of the catastrophe, he wept as Jesus wept over the ruins of Jerusalem. The domestics and the missionaries wished to console the archbishop; they wished to cheer him by telling him that the punishment of the earthquake would not be repeated. But he replied: ‘They will return. It is useless to construct the cathedral and the houses. The earthquake will return soon. God wishes it. They are the great missionaries that God sends so that obstinate hearts, who do not wish to listen to words of love, may be converted.’”

The churches were still filled with debris. The stricken families had raised tents on the shores of the sea. They had also improvised a chapel under an immense covering. The pulpit was a platform and from it the holy archbishop preached a Mission.

Cease Offending God, Pray, and Do Penance

Thousands of persons listened to him. His voice was sweet and sincere, threatening and terrifying, announcing simple Gospel truths and striking prophecy.

One day he made the following comparison: “God does with many of us as a mother does to a lazy sleeping child, she shakes the cot or bed so as to awaken him and cause him to arise. If that does not suffice, she whips him.

“God does the same with many of his children, lethargic sinners. He shakes their beds, that is, their houses, by means of earthquakes, saving their bodies and their lives. If that does not awaken them and they do not arise, He will give them blows, sending them the cholera and the pest. God has made that known to me.”

These last words, pronounced with prophetic accent, frightened and moved the public, so that, amid sobs, they begged for mercy and pardon of God.

“Only one month had passed,” said an eyewitness, “since the archbishop had spoken, inspired by Heaven, of the punishment of the cholera which threatened the city, when the terrible infirmity already raised its empire of terror and death.

“Santiago was an immense hospital, where only groans of pain and anguish were heard. But in a few days it looked like a vast cemetery, whose tragic silence was sadly interrupted by the echo of funeral cars carrying heaps of corpses, or by the priests’ rapid footsteps, hastening to a death-bed.”

“Very many,” wrote St. Anthony, “who refrained from confessing during the mission, have done so as a result of the earthquakes and the pest … I can do no less than bless Our Lord and return unceasing thanks that He sent the plague so opportunely, which I know to be clear evidence of His adorable mercy!”

“Thunder Down Under”

Recently, Fr. Brian Harrison sent a newsletter of his own, reporting on disturbances of nature in connection with recent public abominations in his native Australia:

“The two bolts of lightning that famously struck the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica on the evening after Benedict announced his resignation (February 11, 2013) came to my mind here again recently in Australia. Just several days into the most shameful event ever hosted by the city where I was born, news reports showed a bolt of lightning hitting the top of its highest skyscraper, the iconic Centrepoint Tower, located in the heart of Downtown Sydney (its CBD – Central Business District – in Aussie parlance). Centrepoint is roughly equivalent in symbolic value to the giant St. Louis Gateway Arch, but is a lot taller.

“Sad to say, Australia’s biggest city, largely at the taxpayers’ expense and with constant government promotion on the state-run ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) media network, is currently turning itself into a latter-day Sodom. Sydney is hosting a 16-day ‘WorldPride’ event (17 February to 5 March), drawing an estimated half a million ‘LGBTQI+’ visitors from all over the world for the most massive and in-your-face flaunting of perverse sexuality, gender confusion and contempt for Christian chastity that has ever taken place in the Southern Hemisphere. The city’s Harbour Bridge and Opera House, also highly iconic, have been illumined with rainbow-colored lights. Behavior which just half a century ago would have brought out the vice squad and led to multiple arrests and charges of public indecency is now celebrated as a triumph of progress and human liberation …

“Well, it so happened that just one day after the deplorable event kicked off, something very remarkable happened right at the liturgical hour when the Lord’s Day, Dies Dominica, was beginning: the hour, that is, when the Church in all her religious houses was singing First Sunday Vespers and when many thousands of Sydney Catholics were attending Vigil Masses for the Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time (Quinquagesima Sunday in the old rite). The time was around 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 18th, 2023. At that very hour, when the City was beginning its sponsorship of the worst public profanation of the Lord’s Day in Australian history, a cataclysmic thunderstorm broke out all over Sydney – a torrential downpour unloading rivers of water all over the metropolitan area, causing flash floods, massive power outages, calling forth dozens of emergency service ventures and leaving tens of thousands of Sydney recipients without power until well into the next day or two. It was the heaviest deluge to hit the city in many years and was the lead story in all Sydney media reports the next day …”

Know the Signs of the Times

One of the most terrible consequences of belief in evolution, in its theistic and atheistic forms, is the inability to interpret the signs of the times, so that souls lose the ability to see God’s call to repentance in the natural disorders He sends or permits. Through the prayers of Our Lady of Fatima and of the Most Chaste Heart of St. Joseph, may the Holy Ghost grant to all souls the grace of true repentance and firm amendment of life!

In Christ, through the Immaculata, in union with St. Joseph.

A longer version of this article written by Hugh Owen was published as a newsletter from The Kolbe Center for the Study of Creation. Sign up HERE to receive these regular newsletters.


[1] A measure of distance, usually about three miles.