MADRID (ChurchMilitant.com) - Reflecting on the global pandemic, a Spanish priest has charged that some bishops in the United States and Europe have ceased to address whether divine punishment exists, while they instead accomodate any sin, however severe.
Fr. José Antonio Fortea Cucurull, a famed exorcist and an expert on the subject of the occult and demonic possession, said that many people have asked him whether the spread of the deadly virus is a divine punishment, a question he sought to answer in an online video.
"You already know that I love the bishops," he said, "but if we ask certain bishops of Central Europe and of countries such as the United States, we are frequently confronted with a tendency of being sympathetic regarding any sin regardless of what the Bible says instead of clearly answering this question: Does God punish?"
"Being politically correct is often preferred over what the Bible tells us: Don't go down that path; This is a sin; This is a transgression; This is not pleasing to God. This is an abomination," the priest explained.
He said that it is often that many people prefer to offer "a thousand excuses why God does not punish, even though the Bible says repeatedly that God does punish."
Father Fortea reminded his listeners of St. Paul's letter to the Ephesians (5:6), which warns Christians against "fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness ... obscenity, or foolish talking or scurrility, which is to no purpose." St. Paul wrote that neither the "fornicator, or unclean, or covetous person (which is a serving of idols), hath inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God."
Fortea also recalled what St. Paul said about divine wrath: "Let no man deceive you with vain words. For because of these things cometh the anger of God upon the children of unbelief."
The priest said that in the Book of Samuel, God offered three options for King David to select for having incited the divine wrath: hunger, war and pestilence, which are prefigurements of the Apocalypse.
These historical chastisements, Fr. Fortea said, were permitted by God and have a connection to sin. "The greater part of evil," he said, "is human, not natural," adding, "Sin has its repercussions in nature, not because sin provokes an earthquake or tidal wave, but because God allowed something to happen that He would not have permitted otherwise."
What God is saying, the exorcist noted, is that bad things happen because He permits them.
"To say otherwise would be to suppose that things happen naturally and that God has nothing to do with them," Fr. Fortea continued, "and it would be as if God has nothing to do or that God is limiting himself to merely keeping some things from happening."
God called on King David to build an altar and make a sacrifice in expiation for his sins, the priest said. As for modern people, they must "Ask for God's forgiveness first so that his hand may be restrained."
Addressing the current outbreak, he said:
It is not that God has directly caused the virus. The virus was created by natural means, for reasons that are biological. That virus could have expired in some home after infecting 15 people, and we would never have known of its existence. The virus proliferated because God permitted it. He didn't create it. This time, God permitted it to proliferate. There may have been other such viruses to which God said, "No, it will not spread."
This time God may have seen that humanity has turned its back on Him and thus permitted the virus to spread so that we would return to Him, he said.
"Now you will see what a small thing you are," Fr. Fortea asserted that God is telling the world, adding, "so that people will return to God, if not with love, then ... after chastisements."
"Sometimes we need a hard lesson," the priest warned, "in order to understand, to change."
He emphasized that he does not feel superior to anyone, given that he will also have to account for his own deeds: "For he who does not believe in a loving God who protects us, the evil that happens to him has no meaning. But for us, it does have meaning: It is a punishment or a trial. Sometimes, the just man is put to the test."
A loving God sends punishments and trials to us so that we may return to God, he explained.
The exorcist, who is also a hospital chaplain who has anointed those dying of the Wuhan virus, concluded with this prayer:
I ask, Lord, while this plague lasts [to] give me the understanding so that my brothers and sisters can understand. The world is like a book: Teach us to read. In the end, the message is clear — conversion. Everything else is vanity. The only thing that matters is God.
Father Fortea is an active exorcist in Madrid and author of more than a dozen novels and volumes on theology.