don't blame god, you sick sinner

From: Damien Broderick (
Date: Thu Feb 07 2002 - 22:25:53 MST

The Times had these theological insights, conveniently muddled and mutually


             Illness caused by sin says
             Vatican official


             A SENIOR Vatican official has asserted
             that illness is the result of sin and that
             people have a natural desire to be “healthy
             and good-looking”.

             Presenting the Pope’s message for Lent,
             Archbishop Paul Cordes, the German head
             of the Vatican’s agency for humanitarian
             aid, maintained that there was scriptural
             authority for the idea that those who
             contract illnesses do so because they have

             Father Georges Cottier, the Pope’s chief
             theologian, immediately stepped in to
             reassure those who were ill that they were
             not in fact “paying for their sins”.

             The Pope, in his message, had urged
             genetic scientists and other health experts
             not to succumb to the temptation of
             “tampering with the Tree of Life” under
             the illusion that advances in biotechnology
             had made man his own creator.

             Monsignor Cordes, elaborating on the
             Pope’s remarks, went further and said that
             the root of much modern illness lay in
             sinful or immoral behaviour.

             “Jesus heals sickness and banishes sin,” he
             said. “He therefore teaches us that there is
             a link between sin and illness. This does
             not happen in every individual case, but it
             is a fundamental law. The history of
             salvation shows us that illness is a
             consequence of sin.”

             The theory was enshrined in Roman
             Catholic doctrine, he said. “Man’s desire to
             be healthy, good-looking and strong is
             justified because it anticipates our future
             salvation. One cannot deny that death, of
             which illness is an anticipation, has always
             been seen as a consequence of sin.”

             He quoted the Gospel of St John, which
             describes Jesus curing a crippled man he
             found lying on a pallet by the pool of
             Bethesda in Jerusalem. Jesus told the man,
             who had been crippled for 38 years: “Take
             up your bed and walk”. Finding him later
             in the temple, Jesus ordered the cured man
             to “go and sin no more, or something
             worse may happen to you”.

             Father Cottier said that the original sin
             committed by Adam and Eve in the
             Garden of Eden had “introduced sin and
             suffering into the human condition”. This
             was not the same as saying the sick were
             guilty and it was unacceptable to use
             passages from the Gospel in which Jesus
             “frees people from sin” to suggest

             Commenting on the altercation, La
             Repubblica said that the idea that those
             who were vigorous and good-looking
             were blessed while the ugly and the sick
             were damned was an ancient one that
             predated Christianity. La Stampa said that
             if illness really was the result of sin and
             crime, then “the great dictators and
             criminals of the world would all have been
             struck down”.

             Father Bruno Moriconi, a leading
             theologian, said that illness was neither a
             blessing nor a curse, but simply a result of
             the malfunctioning of the human
             organism. “There is no point in looking to
             the Bible for an explanation.”

              Copyright 2002 Times Newspapers Ltd.

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