‘Acts of God’ reference to adversities dropped


The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) urged the public to replace the phrase “acts of God” when referring to natural calamities and other adversities as it seemed to give a negative connotation that God is a destroyer.

“While God has traditionally been thought of as the ‘universal cause’ in the sense that all that exists owes its existence ultimately to God, the use of ‘acts of God’ in reference to tragic events conveys the misleading thought of a God who wills catastrophe, calamity and misfortune,” CBCP President Socrates Villegas said in a statement on Friday.

Instead of using “acts of God,” Villegas added, the public should rather use “more felicitous expressions that are in fact available” such as “fortuitous events, natural calamities and force majeure, among many others.”

“The unfortunate phrase, sanctioned by legal tradition, conveys the thought that God is the cause of human misery and tragedy,” the archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan said.

“A landslide, for example, that not only impedes travel but can bring about the tragic loss of life is usually referred to in commercial and legal documents as an “act of God,” he noted.

Villegas explained that “Jesus is the ultimate revealer of the Father, and He tells us about a God so passionately in love with us all that He wishes none to be lost and invites all to the knowledge of the truth!”

He pointed out that when using the “more felicitous and less misleading terms,” it will then help “not to perpetrate a mistaken notion of Divine causality and the will of God.”


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