A Poignant Question from Pope Benedict XVI

by Mike on May 28, 2006

in Religion

It was reported today that Pope Benedict XVI asked God why he remained silent during the Holocaust? This is of course a more specific and gut wrenching version of the question: “why is there evil in the world?” In my opinion, free will is the most obvious answer and also the simplest. C.S. Lewis once argued that God would not be loving if he did not give us free will. How perfect can a love of God and from God be if it is neither freely given nor received?

Many in the blogosphere are wondering whether God was silent during the Holocaust. They cite the Allied response to Hitler’s 6 million atrocities as evidence that there is good in the world, even with our exercise of free will.

Benedict showed courage by asking this question aloud.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Ryan May 29, 2006 at 12:46 pm

I love these kind of questions, not because I think I know the answers, but because one’s own ideas give insight into one’s own spirituality.

We cannot understand God’s plans–the Holocaust led to the creation of the first Jewish state in 1800 years and changed the way the world reacts to atrocities. “Crimes Against Humanity” and other phrases have entered our lexicon and made humanity think about the dangers of mechanized warfare and a state’s policy of genocide. World War II being so bad all around, perhaps it helped to keep the US and Soviet Union from obliterating each other during the Cold War.

Is there a grand plan? Is there a reason why the Holocaust happened? Is God to blame or are we to blame; a question Mike brings up by citing CS Lewis and his thoughts on free will? I’m glad the Pope asked the question to spark dialogue and introspection.


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