Interview: What is Evil?

world | Aug 13, 2008 | By Wlodzimierz Redzioch

Wlodzimierz Redzioch talks to Archbishop Angelo Amato, SDB, Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

WLODZIMIERZ REDZIOCH: - What is the definition of evil?

Archbishop ANGELO AMATO, SDB: - We know what evil is as we know what good is. From the phenomenological point of view evil means natural catastrophes (earthquakes, volcano eruptions, tsunami, flood), pathologies of human beings (diseases, disabilities, accidents, death), moral weaknesses (sin, vices, temptations), social disorder (injustice, violence, oppression, wars), damages and mental deviations (ignorance, mistakes).

- Throughout centuries people only knew the evil that surrounded them, the evil they experienced themselves. Today, in the epoch of all present media, we experience the evil of the whole world... 

Today, reading newspapers, listening to the radio, using television or the Internet we participate and watch the perverse 'film' about evil, 'shot' in all ends of the world, having new and new cruel scenarios. The examples are the numerous provocations of the international terrorism.

- That's right. Blind terror sown by kamikaze has become in a way a symbol of evil in our times, but in his book 'Le terrorisme à visage humain' (Terrorism with Human Face) Rev. Prof. Michael Schooyans shows that there is another terrorism in the contemporary world, which is seen as having human face, and therefore, different. What is this all about? 

Apart from the revolting terrorism of kamikaze, which dominates in our daily media reality, there is the so-called terrorism with a human face. It is so common and revolting like the other one, but the media promote it, deceitfully manipulating the traditional vocabulary to hide the tragic reality of facts. For example, abortion is called 'voluntary termination of pregnancy' and not killing innocent human beings; abortion clinic is defined by a positive expression 'centre for reproductive health'; euthanasia is called mildly 'a worthy death'.

This is evil that remains almost invisible since it is spread in special places and it presented as progress of mankind. Take for instance abortion clinics, true slaughterhouses of human beings in 'embryonic form'; laboratories that produce Ru 486 pills or contraceptives 'morning after pill', where people manipulate human embryos, as if they were biological materials. And what about the parliaments of the countries, regarded as civilised, that pass bills contrary to human nature, e.g. the same sex relationships as marriage or depenalisation of euthanasia.

- You mentioned modern forms of evil but one can have the impression that today we often hear about the traditional form of evil - the cult of Satan... 

That's right. Satanic sects, characterised by 'sacrilegious' cult of evil, have spread recently. By 'Satanic' we mean soothing that is connected with the cult of Satan, which is seen as independent evil deity or enemy of Christian God. A Satanist is a person who worships devil - the Prince of Darkness and tempter inclining to evil. Satanists want things that good God cannot hear. Their attitude is contrary to Christian principles and commandments. In order to insult Christ Satanist commit sins, which Christ condemned in a special way: desecrating worship and sensual orgy. Satanists call evil what Christians call good and this complete change of perspectives is revealed in taking pleasure in sacrilegious and criminal deeds (Satanists resort to ritual murders of innocent people).

- What are the challenges of evil that surrounds us? 

Evil poses three kinds of challenges. First of all, it is the existential-practical challenge since evil forces us to assume a concrete attitude. This can be passive submissiveness and fatalism, revolt, stoic disr


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