Who is the greater sinner

clipped from www.nola.com
VATICAN CITY — An Austrian pastor who has been quoted as calling Hurricane Katrina God’s punishment for sin in New Orleans is being promoted to the rank of bishop.
In 2005, Wagner was quoted in a parish newsletter as saying that he was convinced that the death and destruction of Hurricane Katrina earlier that year was “divine retribution” for New Orleans’ tolerance of homosexuals and laid-back sexual attitudes.
It said the newsletter quoted Wagner as saying that Katrina destroyed not only nightclubs and brothels in New Orleans, but also abortion clinics.
“The conditions of immorality in this city are indescribable,” Wagner was quoted as saying.

Not only does soon to be bishop Gerhard Wagner have a poor understanding of theodicy (the problem of evil in the world), he also has a very poor sense of geography.

By his logic, the most sexually “sinful” parts of New Orleans would have been the hardest hit by Katrina, meaning the French Quarter. But the Quarter wasn’t the hardest hit. Most building there remained intact. If Wagner’s reasoning is to be believed, it’s people like the working class Black Catholics in areas like the Lower Ninth Ward who are really to blame, because it’s those areas where entire homes were washed away.

Sin may have been at work in New Orleans. But Katrina wasn’t God’s punishment. The sin at work there was the result of our collective human failings: of racism, poverty, and failure to care for one another.

I hope that greater mercy will be shown to Wagner than what he has shown to others.


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Filed under current events, New Orleans

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