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June 23, 1961     The Observer
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June 23, 1961

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FRIDAY, JUNE 23, 1961 THE OBSERVER PAGE II THEOLOGY FOR EVERY MAN The age-old problem of reconciling the presence of evil in the world with the perfect goodness of the God Who created and sustains it, never loses its challenge to reason--and iaith. What do reason and faith say of evil--and to what extent may no an- swers be forthcoming, as "explanation" remains shrouded in a cloak of mystery? The following commentary was prepared at St. John's Semi- ~ary, Brighton, Mass It is reprinted ]ram the Boston Pilot. Q. DOES THE PROBLEM OF EVIL ADMIT OF EXPLANA- TION, OR MUST IT ALWAYS REMAIN A MYSTERY? A. No one can deny that the fact of evil presents a problem. On the one hand, the universe gives evidence of order and intelligent direction. On the other hand, we find equally com- pelling evidence cf disorder and suffering, much of which has resulted from man's voluntary interference. The reaction of many people to the fact of evil is that it *affords conclusive proof that there is no God. It is no solution to the problem of evil to say that the universe in which it occurs is beyond any one's understanding. Not only the philosopher, but the average man, finds in the very fact of evil a convincing suggestion of the possibility of its ultimate explanation. THE EARLY PHILOSOPHERS THOUGHT of evil as a de- fect of created being. Some have explained the problem by denying the existence of evil, or by thinking of it as purely imaginary As philosophical reflection arrived at the distinc- tion between spirit and matter, these two terms became re- spectively identified with good and evil: From this point Of view the visible universe was r~garded as totally evil. The in- iluence of the heavenly bodies, it was claimed, was responsible for all human failings. Man can escape the evil of the world only by lifting his soul to God in intelligent contemplation. Nothing in the world can lead to God. Only God's own revela- tion, reaching man independently of the world, can open up the way to happiness and peace. Only in a life of virtue and holiness can contact with divine revelation be established. And since the world is evil, it cannot be the work of God. It is the work of an evil being, a demiurge. As creatures emanated from God, they came into relation with the demiurge and suffered cor- ruption. The only answer to the problem of evil is for man to turn completely away from the world and towards God. THIS WAS ONE OF THE FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES of Gnosticism, a school of thought which developed in the early days of Christianity. Its teachings were adopted by Mani (215-276 A.D.) who gave his name to a new movement called Manicheism. Man becomes conscious, he says, of his sipiritual dignity, which became defiled by contact with things mater- ial, insued from two sources, one essentially good, the other essentially evil. Man's salvation can be realized only by separat- ins himself from the evil influences which his association with material things has brought about. The higher knowledge of Classified PIANOS AND ORGANS the soul, as it advances towards perfection, effects its ~elease low only at a distance were called auditors, as distinguished from the captivity of the body. from the perfect or the elect, who abstained completely from The cause of the mingling in man of good and evil is a prin- marriage, and ate sparingly only of vegetable foods. The sect ciple of darkness, equal and co-existent with God, the prin- disappeared many centuries ago, but its spirit remains even ciple of light. The two principles have come into conflict; man's today among those who consider-matter as the source of all consciousness of sin is but one result of this struggle. The whole history of the world, including that of humanity, is to be interpreted in terms of this ceaseless opposition between light and darkness As evil is spread, salvation from it is brought about by the influence of the light. Man is dragged down by contact with matter, and particularly by sexual in- dulgence. Only complete sexual abstinence can lead to the end of the material umverse and the ultimate defeat of the principle of darkness here. MANICHEISM THUS PROPOSES A REGIME of extreme asceticism. Its ideals were so impossible that even the most perfect could not reach them. Those who were willing to tel- D'CONNO[ FUNERAL HOME U PHOTO ENGRAVING ADVERTISING ART HALFTONES ZINC ETCHINGS George C. Hawley Representin$ Goodwill.Allen, InCa 120 S. Wyman St. Rockford WO 4-4618 evil and who seek to make themselves independent of material comforts as though they were essentially wrong. A contemporary of Maul. who has gained greater recogni- tion for his philosophical insight, ~has presented a similar ex- planation of the problem of evil. Plotinus, (205-270) following in the traditions of Plato, finds the answer to the problem in the order of the universe. He thinks of God as the absolutely perfect Being, whose existence cannot be 'discovered by abstract reasoning, but only by a sort of mystical contemplation which only the initiated can achieve. From the Being of God, by a series of emanations, all other beings proceed. The first emana- tion is irttelligence, a being similar ~o God, but lacking in the fullness of His perfection. Next comes the World-soul, which exists from all eternity, but lacks the perfect unity of God. The World-soul gives birth in time to beings of lesser perfec- tion. At the lowest degree of perfection among beings which began to exist in time are material beings. IN ITSELF, MATTER IS COMPLETELY LACKING in- unity and perfection. Devoid of order and form. mauer becomes the principle of evil. Evil is thus explained as resulting from the progressive deterioration of beings as they get farther away from the principle of order and closer to matter. Pure evil is pure matter, incapable of producing any further being. The soul of man, finding itself imprisoned in ma~ter, must'strive for freedom by ascending towards God. By the practice of ascet- ism and interior contemplation the soul becomes more and more pure and independent of matter. We become more and more like God in the measure of our success in escaping the enslave- merit of matter. In the philosophy of Communism we find traces of these OVER 100 New and Used Pianos and Organs to Choose From titles evil with the past and good with the future. In the past 330 N. Main St. Rockford, we. 3-S23~ the workers, have suffered from the injustices of class distinc- JACKSON PIANO STORE lion. 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In the Rock* petal, Belvedere, IlL measure of required goodness. This definition of evil, centering lord store, we have new degartment ~:~i:f:!!!:!~!:~!~i~!~!~i~i~!~:~!i~!~!~i~!~;i~:~!~!~!~i~!:~i~i~!i~iii~:~!~ii~i~i~;~i~ii~:/~ dedicated to Religious articles. Prices to tit your immediate budget. Come in and around the notion of being, presupposes logically the existence oven Rate--10c wor6--S4.4~ oer mch browse around. 1019 West State st Rock* Of God. The existence of an imperfect world cannot be eX- Contracts. ,/~-mch. i3 consecutive weeks ford. In Aurora, Catholic Salvage Is Io. $1 9~ weekly tor total of S~,S.4E plained unless it has its beginning in a perfect being. Only Contracts mch, 13 consecutive weeKi CaSed at 201 North Lake St. S3.7g weekly tar tofel of $49,1& one perfect Being can exist; a perfect being could not create It Daye to edvertisel another perfect being. Hence the very fact of creation supposes i~;~i;i;i~;~i~i~a~;~;~;~i~i~i~!~;;:;~z'~t*~`a~;~ that created beings, of limited perfection, must be subject to FOR SALE the loss of even the degree of perfection that God destines them LEAVING town Modern house, gas heat, 4 bedrm, 2 car garage. to possess. Furnishings if desired. 224 Ellsworth-- Inquire within. PRIOR TO THE PROBLEM OF EVIL, therefore, ~s the prob- R~ lem of the co-existence of God and created beings. How can lion as icy teacher in a parochial school God create beings which are subject to evil? Ought God to Re;erences. Write Box 20 T, The Ob- server, Rockford, Illinois. c~eate if there is any possibility that created beings will not ~ : : : realize the perfection which belongs to them? PHONE AD 2-$612--FREEPORT In answering these questions, theologians distinguish between physical evil and moral evil. Moral evil or sin, occurs when a created being refuses the conformity with the will of God that its created nature demands. Moral evil is thus a disorder know- ingly introduced into the harmony of the universe as God has established it. As a creature of God, man must give glory to God. Because he is mtelligent, he must give glory to God know- ingly and freely. Because man is free and because he is at the same time limited in both his being and his freedom, it is pos- sible for him to refuse the conformity with God's will that will make his free acts morally good. IN OTHER WORDS, FREE BEINGS CAN 1CHOOSE FREELY to commit sin. This power is not of the essence of freedom itself; it is an imperfection of freedom as it is shared in by limited be- ings. This imperfection will be removed only when free beings reach God, their last end. Here on earth the choice between good and evil remains possible. Men can now choose among SLOUF ROTHERS RUb and FURNITURE CLEANERS Roofing Company "Tacked down carpets cleaned on floor" Barret Approved Rooters 1207 New York Street Built-up Roofs PE.: Aurora TW 2-1511 FREEPORT ADams S-1612 BROADWAY BODY SHOP J. R. 'KINGSLEY Complete Painting Body & Fender Repairing 310 N. Broadway Aurora TW 2.11181 particular goods, which are opposed to the higher goods which are in conformity with God's law. If man is placed in the position of choosing some course of $ action that is morally sinful, God's Wisdom would seem to de- mand that there be compensating advantages of transcendent importance. That such advantages are at hand we may be cer- tain for the simple reason that God, Who permits sin to be committed, is infinitely good. It is His goodness that has willed that rational creatures have a share in the determining of their own destiny. It is God's will that men be free. It is'in conform- ity with God's. will, thot~gh not directly in line with it, that men commit sin. WE CANNOT, TO BE SURE, arrive through these reflections T- i at complete understanding of the mystery of sin. We can, how- erney's Hiway Food ever, recognize that, if sin ls mysterious, it is not for this rea- Open Hires----Sunday son beyond explanation in terms of God's relations with the Ample Perking world. The only other alternatives are to deny the existence Centre41o Brand Groceries of God. or, worse still, to identify God with the imperfect 1119N. Washington Ave. world in which sin is committed. Either of these last two solu- TR 9.3050 Batavia, III. lions will open up problems far more baffling than that of the co-exis~ence of God and created beings who can commit sin. Physical evil is likewise consistent with the idea of aged who ELGIN is infinitely good and merciful. For the goodnes~ and mercy of God must find integration with His infinite justice and HAYWARD SOUTH ELGIN PHARMACY OPEN S A.M. TILL1O P.M. EVERY DAY c2%. PHIPPS Dept. Better Store Quality Merchandise at Sensible Prices Plenty of FREE Parking BATAVIA Route 31 Ph. SH 1-665S So. Elgin 364 Divisiow~Elgln Dial SHerwood 1-1400 Thiel's Drug Store truth. The* Christian theologian, looking at God from both points of view, finds a close and inevitable relation between physical evil and moral evil. The same God who has made the moral law for man's free activity has made the laws according to which the umverse is governed. Man, an intelligent crea- ture, has been placed in the world to test his worthiness for an eternity of happiness with God. Eternal happiness is a free gift of God, which God requires man freely to accept. MOREOVER, GOD HAS DECREED that the order of the uni- verse must be respected by man who is free. When this order is disturbed, evil and suffering must naturally follow. God could of course prevent this from happening by miraculously intervening in the natural order of things. It would be incred- ible that He would do so at every moment to compensate for the mistakes and malice of men. Were this to happen, it would become impossible for men themselves to make any scientific studies by which the forces of nature could be directed and con- trolled. Nor could God be expected to limit the effects of physical evil to those who have been morally responsible for it. This would be in violation of the law" of'solidarity, which is the basis CLIFFORD THIEL Pharmacist Expert Prescription Service 161 Dundee Dial SH 2-0482 ELGIN CAN On Any Make or Model Car or Truck Bob Lynch not only of the social order in which God has destined men to live, but also of the mystery of man's redemption and sanctifies- ancient explanations of the evil of the universe. Marxism iden- lion. Priest Killed SAIGON, Vietnam -- (Radio NC)--Father Louis Leroy, O. M. I has been killed by commu- nist Pathet Lao forces in Laos, according to a traveler who has arrived here. The French missionary was captured by the PathoS Lao on April 15 in the Red strong~old of Xieng Khouang. Appointment Made VATICAN CITY--(Radio, NC) --Father Francis Lyle Kennedy of the Jefferson City, Mo dio- cese has been named U. S. post- ulster for the beatification cause of Pope Plus IX by the Sacred MONa Ir Rockford's Great Automobile Dept. Store 3737 E. State St. Ex. 9-0269 We Have Our Own Service Dept. 8:30 P.M. WREX-IV Channel 13 Say You Saw It in THE OBSERVER Congregation of Rites. H 'pEACE + ,0 i New Secretary MODERN DAIRY I' MAY TEY RESTN i!~ ~I South Bend, Ind.--Father Wil- COMPANY, INC. ~i~i~/~i~!~.~`%i~:~i~i~ ~ ~:~.`.~i~i~.~i~.;~ ~`~~i~ liam T. Craddick, C.S.C has Fine Dairy Productg The following clergy of the Diocese of Rockford passed on to been named provincial secre- their eternal rewards on the dates listed. Your prayers are re- tary and a member of the pro- Dial SH 1-2536 ELGIN quested for the repose of their souls, vincial council of the Holy Cross June 18, 1924--The Rev. Thomas F. Leyden, pastor of St. Mary Fathers' Indiana province. Father Craddick, a native of Church, Freeport, is buried in Calvary cemetery, Rockford, Ill succeeds the late ELGIN Chicago. June 20, 1950--The Rev. William Michael McGuire. pastor of St. Father John H. Murphy, C.S.C, nd Catherine Church, Genoa. is buried in Jemez He has been m~aster of novices COAL a OIL Springs, New Mexico. at Sacred Heart Novitiate. Jar- 24 Kimball Street June 20, 195~The Rev. W. N. Deutsch, assistant at St. Nicholas dan, Minn since 1949, and is a former prefect of religion at the Elgin,- Illinois Church, Aurora. is buried in SS. Peter and Paul University of Notre Dame. cemetery, Virgil, Ill. Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that the souls of thy servants ~ .~,:.~:. ~:, : :~ - ~== ~ :~~.~ ~ Thy priests whom in this life Thou didst honor with the sacred Say You Saw It in office, may rejoice in the glory of heaven foreVermore. Amen. ~ THE OBSERVER @ Everything to, the MOTOI~IST Dial SHerwood 1-2577 SEISTA An Old Fraven Stoker Coal For Commercial and Domestic Use CALL BLOCK BRICK & FUEL COMPANY Cornea of PrestOn and independence, Rockford, IlL Dial we 4-4607 John F. "Jack" Long David L. Klonts Vacation Preparations Make sure that your smaller valuables and important papers ha e the safety and privacy of a First National Safe De- posit Box. Stop in at First National for your su- per-safe vacation money . Travelers Cheques. Join our 50-week Vacation Club to be financially ready for Vacation 1962. 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