Evil is real. The Church has always taught that evil entered our world through the sin of Adam, and to this day we are all affected by it (Original Sin). With the comforts and sophistication of our world, we try hard to paper over this reality. But the mature Christian will always acknowledge the fact of sin and evil. Our faith encourages us to bring it out into the open and to rejoice in the good news that the death and resurrection of Christ has won victory over the power of evil.
Last week an elderly priest in France, Father Jacques Hamel, was killed while celebrating a weekday Mass for a small group of parishioners. The two men responsible declared their allegiance to the terrorist organisation IS. In this barbaric act we were staring into the face of evil.
It is this grim reality which our faith offers to save us from.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (para 310) has this to say on the topic:
But why did God not create a world so perfect that no evil could exist in it? With infinite power God could always create something better. But with infinite wisdom and goodness God freely willed to create a world “in a state of journeying” towards its ultimate perfection. In God’s plan this process of becoming involves the appearance of certain beings and the disappearance of others, the existence of the more perfect alongside the less perfect, both constructive and destructive forces of nature. With physical good there exists also physical evil as long as creation has not reached perfection.
Last Thursday we celebrated the feast day of another French priest, St John Mary Vianney. By his remarkable life, the love and the mercy of God was revealed to the world. We are told he spent up to 18 hours each day in the confessional.
Seeking and receiving the forgiveness of God frees us from the sad reality of evil in our world.