From a reader… no… readers… no… many readers, all the time!
“Fr Z, why does X [X = bad thing] continue to happen in my [FILL IN BLANK]?”
Many questions come in with the formula or some variation
“Dear Fr. Z, our priest (or bishop, or deacon, or whomever) did [FiLL IN BLANK]. Why?”
Evil is a mystery.
The old Catholic Encyclopedia, helpfully reprinted on the New Advent website, says that evil “is what ought not to exist. Nevertheless, there is no department of human life in which its presence is not felt; and the discrepancy between what is and what ought to be has always called for explanation in the account which mankind has sought to give itself and its surroundings.”
When we ask the “why” of morally evil acts of another, we necessarily also ask why we ourselves sin.
If we ponder the evil in our own lives, we might be able to understand better the evil in the lives of others.
Quid autem vides festucam in oculo fratris tui et trabem in oculo tuo non vides? Aut quomodo dicis fratri tuo sine eiciam festucam de oculo tuo et ecce trabis est in oculo tuo? Hypocrita! Eice primum trabem de oculo tuo et tunc videbis eicere festucam de oculo fratris tui.
We chose evil because (wrongly) we think it to be a good. Mind you, we can, because of appetites, vices, the temptations of the Enemy, etc., deceive ourselves about goods. Still, we choose what – at the moment – we think will bring us happiness or pleasure. Later, we realize that whatever pleasure there was in the evil, is in evil, it is inevitably transitory and false.
Evil (the absence of good, truth and beauty), by definition, cannot satisfy someone made in God’s image.
We choose evil because we have been deceived.
We choose evil because we are weak.
And, remember: Sin makes you stupid.
We choose evil because we are selfish and prefer our transitory pleasure over the beatitude of heaven.
How do we combat evil in society… in the Church?
How do we combat evil in ourselves?
Strive to let reason guide passions rather than the other way around.
Avoid near occasions of sin.
The best course to defeat evil in the world must be the same.
Discipline ourselves so that our intellects can guide our emotions and appetites.
Avoid near occasions of sin.
The solution to corruption and evil in the world is the same as it has always been:
Strive to be holy.
Raise your children to be saints.
Be willing to suffer.
Stick close to the sacraments and the sure teaching of the Church, which can be verified in her perennial teachings.
At this moment I have in my head the verse from Micah 6, which I recently saw in beautiful lettering in the reading room of the Library of Congress. As a convert, I still have some biblical verses in my head from the King James Bible and this is the verse I am thinking of:
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
And lest anyone get his panties in a twist (you know who you are), here is the Douay of Micah 6:6-8:
What shall I offer to the Lord that is worthy? wherewith shall I kneel before the high God? shall I offer holocausts unto him, and calves of a year old? May the Lord be appeased with thousands of rams, or with many thousands of fat he goats? shall I give my firstborn for my wickedness, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? I will shew thee, O man, what is good, and what the Lord requireth of thee: Verily to do judgment, and to love mercy, and to walk solicitous with thy God.