Glasgow Crash: does human tragedy make God more present in the world?

Glasgow Crash: does human tragedy make God more present in the world?

 Glasgow Crash: does human tragedy make God more present in the world?

The popular view about human suffering is that it makes it more difficult to believe in God. Even Catholics – indeed, even some priests – express themselves at a loss when dealing with death, especially sudden death or the death of a young person. That’s astonishing, and completely contradicts what Catholic believe about the shortness of even the longest life, and the fact that this life is but a preparation for the next.

In any case, there is another aspect to this question. Something, such as the helicopter crash in Glasgow which happened late last night, on the eve of the Feast of St Andrew, our national patron, could be interpreted as God reminding us that He is in charge. God never treats us like puppets.  He gave human beings free will, and it was the abuse of that fee will by our first parents which led to disorder in the world, so it is futile to blame God for suffering; instead, we ought to reflect deeply on the truth that in various ways, through all the suffering caused by illness, accidents, disease, natural disasters, and so on, somehow, God makes His presence felt.

It would be interesting to know how many (if any) atheists were standing outside the Clutha pub last night. Did anyone fail to offer a prayer, whether or intercession or gratitude?

St Andrew, Patron Saint of Scotland, intercede for everyone affected by the helicopter tragedy.

Our Lady of Lourdes, health of the sick, pray for them.

Comments (33)

  • Vianney

    I wonder how many of those who died were ready for death, very few I should think. You never know the minute as the old saying goes and this accident shows that we should live each day as if it was our last and have a pure soul ready to meet our Maker.

    November 30, 2013 at 11:36 pm
  • Theresa Rose

    According to the news 8 died in the Clutha Bar, Glasgow, 14 are in hospital seriously injured.
    It makes you wonder indeed how many were ready to meet their deaths.

    At the moment I cannot quite remember the passage, but Our Lord did say in effect that “Death comes like a thief in the night.” True Vianney, that we should live each day as if it were our last”.

    This is a link that gives the number of dead, plus those in hospital seriously injured.

    December 1, 2013 at 1:17 pm
  • catholicconvert1

    How are we, as Catholics, supposed to explain the tragic death of a young person/ baby etc? Just lay the blame at the feet of Adam and Eve, for disobeying God and causing disorder and suffering in the world?

    December 1, 2013 at 1:47 pm
  • Margaret Mary

    Catholic Convert,

    There isn’t any other explanation. Unless God is evil or uncaring and unless he created an imperfect world then somehow the evil in the world has to be explained by being human responsibility.

    Someone once said on this blog (Athanasius I think) and I’ve never forgotten this, we are always so shocked by early or sudden accidental deaths because we think of death itself as being a bad thing, instead of the beginning of eternal life. I’ve never forgotten that and It’s helped me to understand the mystery of suffering in the world better myself. Who knows whether that sudden tragic death is not the way that person has to save their soul? We just don’t know.

    December 1, 2013 at 2:00 pm
    • Petrus

      Well said, Margaret Mary. We must also remember that quite often bad people or dangerous ways of living cause early death – we are not God’s puppets.

      December 1, 2013 at 2:46 pm
    • editor

      I agree, well said. Our first parents made the wrong choice and we’re still suffering the ill effects.

      And notice: the atheists who mock this dogma, are the same atheists who blether on about “going green” and “caring for the planet” to prevent our children and future generations suffering as a result of our poor stewardship.

      Can’t have it both ways. Either parents’ actions DO make a difference to the shape of the world, or they don’t!

      December 1, 2013 at 4:51 pm
  • Columba2006

    Let us pray for the poor souls who met the Lord on Friday evening. I hope the Lord has mercy on them.

    It makes me think though; God is good and can never do evil but God can withdraw grace.

    It is not surprising that in the short few days after this country decided to vote for same sex marriage, which is a direct insult to God, that He withdrew His grace from this country.

    Let us pray hard for those poor souls and also pray fervently for the failure of the same sex marriage abomination which will be chastised.

    December 1, 2013 at 8:05 pm
    • editor


      A very interesting comment, food for thought. You are absolutely correct – voting for same-sex “marriage” is an abomination and will be chastised. Wondering what lies ahead is the stuff of nightmares.

      December 1, 2013 at 11:33 pm
    • chardom

      Bigotry and insensitivity, in your comment. Have you or any others writing on this totally inappropriate thread given any thought to the hurt and distress you may cause to relatives still awaiting news of loved ones????? You should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself for your crass insensitivity commenting at such a time as this Completely wicked!!!!! Though by now I should know better than to expect any decency from ct and It’s devotees

      December 1, 2013 at 11:46 pm
  • chasdom

    Be ashamed Editor and all those using the tragedy in Glasgow to air your very erroneous views so soon after the tragic events that have taken place. As yet not all the persons trapped have been rescued; and ct are already commenting and judging. No thought what so ever for the families still awaiting news of loved ones and the distress you may cause them by your bigotry and self righteous baloney. editor have the decency and respect to remove this particular thread at once and refrain from further comment on this horrendous tragic accident.
    The very least you can do is to issue a public apology for your crass insensitivity in this matter Even for you editor this plumbs new depth of ghoulish and totally inappropriate comment and editorial. I hope you are thoroughly ashamed of yourself encouraging such ghoulish behaviour through your evil publication and blog; though I doubt you even realise how crass and insensitive you are being.

    December 1, 2013 at 11:36 pm
    • editor

      You are something else. The thread isn’t ABOUT the accident, it’s about whether God makes His presence felt in human tragedy – this one being the spark for our discussion. If you cannot even get the topic right, it’s little wonder that you post daft comments.

      Your hatred of Catholic Truth (in every sense) makes you sit on the sidelines until one of us (preferably me) says something you think you can “get” us on.

      Grow up.

      December 1, 2013 at 11:43 pm
      • chardom

        What ever reason or excuse you use for opening up this thread editor it remains crass, insensitive and totally inappropriate at this time, no matter what excuse you use to justify your actions. Be told woman you have very definitely over stepped the mark this time. have the decency to do as you have been asked Remove the thread close comments on it and apologise for your insensitivity.
        That would be the grown up thing to do.

        December 1, 2013 at 11:55 pm
      • editor

        St Andrew, Patron Saint of Scotland, intercede for everyone affected by the helicopter tragedy.

        Our Lady of Lourdes, health of the sick, pray for them.

        “Crass and insensitive”? Only someone who has come on here to support homosexual “rights” could be so confused.

        This is the end of the conversation with you on this thread. Unless you contribute maturely to discussions, your posts will be deleted from now on.

        December 2, 2013 at 11:18 am
      • catholicconvert1

        I didn’t know Chardom supported homosexual ‘rights’? Sigh.

        Ed: note that this went into moderation because you used the name of the blogger who is moderated. Please avoid – there’s nothing to say about his posts now, so please get on with the topic.

        December 2, 2013 at 3:17 pm
      • Whistleblower

        This person doesn’t have a brain and clearly cannot understand, editor. What a pity.

        December 2, 2013 at 6:55 am
      • editor


        Either that or, perhaps more likely, is mis-using his intelligence and talents to participate in the work of diabolical disorientation. God help him.

        December 2, 2013 at 11:28 am
  • Therese

    I think it’s more likely to be a wind up. Chas(r)dow repeats the same phrases on every thread. None of them make sense or are appropriate either to the discussions or to Catholic truth.

    December 2, 2013 at 11:07 am
    • editor


      You are right – this person makes no sense and appears to be looking for trouble.

      It’s this sort of thing that puts people off blogging – especially those rightly concerned about charity.

      My advice to everyone is to ignore posts from troublemakers. I always cut them a little slack to be sure that I’M not the one uncharitably passing premature judgment, but in the end, they’ll be put into moderation and will get fed up having their comments deleted. Eventually they get so fed up that they disappear. So, annoying though it is, I suggest everyone ignore comments from such nuisances. This one is back in moderation. Every now and then he writes reasonable comments and I presume he’s changed his ways and release him from moderation. This time, the “review” will be one year from today.

      Clutha Bar Latest

      Another body has been found in the Clutha bar which takes the total to nine dead. We should remember them in our prayers and, of course, pray for strength for their families and friends in this time of trial.

      December 2, 2013 at 11:26 am
  • chasdom

    Comment removed

    December 2, 2013 at 1:09 pm
    • chasdom

      Comment removed

      December 2, 2013 at 6:53 pm
      • chasdom

        Comment removed.

        December 2, 2013 at 9:18 pm
  • Josephine

    Thank you for this thoughtful thread. Incidents like this helicopter crash are meant to make us think deeply about life, so your critic is out of line.

    I know you’ve said this before yourself, Editor, but I’d like to repeat it, that you never see anyone on other blogs telling the administrator what to do, to delete posts and apologise etc. I’ve never seen that at all, and I keep an eye on a few blogs. So, you’re right to ignore that “order” to scrap this thread.

    It’s a very timely reminder that we do not know the day nor the hour when death wlll strike (as Gospel says) and we should all be prepared at all times.

    We used to be encouraged to carry a card or something with us that said we are a Catholic and in case of emergency to send for a priest. That’s one of those traditions that has died out, probably since it’s now taken for granted that everyone will go to heaven anyway.

    December 2, 2013 at 1:58 pm
    • editor

      Thanks, Josephine. Got it in one about the sheer nerve of anyone coming on here to instruct me to delete the topic post. Sheer nerve.

      I think you’re right about that tradition of carrying a note to ask for a priest in cases of accidents. It may well have died out. I have to confess I used to have such a card myself and somehow it’s got lost in the various handbag switches I make so I’ll have to put that right. Thanks for the prompt.


      The papal nuncio sent the follow message on behalf of Pope Francis:

      Pope Francis has sent a message expressing his “closeness” to the people of Glasgow following the Clutha helicopter tragedy. The message was conveyed to Archbishop Philip Tartaglia by the Papal Nuncio Archbishop Antonio Mennini. The text reads:

      Your Grace,

      Having learned the sad news of the tragic accident which occurred in Glasgow when a police helicopter crashed into Clutha Vaults pub, close to the Cathedral, causing the death of several people and numerous injured, I would like hereby to convey to you, as Archbishop of Glasgow, the closeness of the Holy Father as well as my most sincere sympathy in these difficult moments.

      I assure you of my prayers for those who have tragically lost their lives or have been injured as well as their relatives. May the Lord grant eternal rest to those who have died and comfort their relatives and the entire community of Glasgow in these moments of distress and sadness.

      While kindly asking you to transmit these sentiments of the Holy Father and mine to all those affected by this tragedy, I remain

      Yours fraternally in Christ

      Archbishop Antonio Mennini
      Apostolic Nuncio

      December 2, 2013 at 2:30 pm
  • Frankier

    It is really sad about the helicopter crash and God rest the souls of those who died but I wonder if I am the only one who is really sick of the way these plastic politicians we have in this country are cashing in on people’s sorrow. It seems to me that they are determined to have their own wee 9/11 by imitating the mayor of New York and the New York emergency services. Even the church service (protestant) couldn’t wait until all the bodies had been recovered. There was very little talk about the ordinary people who lost their lives. The saddest sight, in my opinion, was the young man looking for his father, standing alone in the street, nobody to comfort him. Instead, we have to watch Alex Salmond, Nicola Sturgeon and a host of other opportunists jumping on the bandwagon for the sake of gathering a few votes. There wasn’t much chance of wee Nicola getting her hairdo upset by jumping in to physically help. If they can sit back and vote for abortion on demand I really don’t think they are capable of shedding many tears for strangers. Maybe, of course, I am being uncharitable but it would take a good explanation to convince me otherwise.

    December 3, 2013 at 1:43 pm
    • Therese

      Well said Frankier.

      December 3, 2013 at 3:38 pm
    • Eileenanne

      There wasn’t much chance of wee Nicola getting her hairdo upset by jumping in to physically help.

      What a silly statement. As the lady in question is not a member of the emergency servoces, and is presumably untrained for search and rescue, jumping in to help would have got her arrested.

      December 3, 2013 at 4:13 pm
  • Frankier

    What do you mean by “what a silly statement”? Yours is a sillier statement. Do you actually think that I expected her to help in any way? All I am saying is that the poor “punters” who died seem to have taken second place to the vote-chasers. What did you think of the poor boy who was searching for his father but had no one there to pat his back? He wasn’t allowed to stand in front of the cameras and take centre stage and if he had dared to cross the line to try and dig his father out, as I would have done, he would have been arrested.

    December 3, 2013 at 7:22 pm
    • editor


      Sometimes the finer points of hyperbolic language are lost of certain of our occasional bloggers. Don’t worry about it – you’re right enough. Politicians never miss an opportunity to get in front of a camera, but I suppose on this occasion if they hadn’t done, there would have been oceans of discussion on Call Kaye and other phone in chat shows asking why not. So, maybe better to allow them their on-off moments on the news rather than be subject to their free publicity on hour-length discussions shows for the next month 🙂

      December 3, 2013 at 7:32 pm
      • Eileenanne

        Hyperbole? Hmmm… Reads more like a cheap, unfair and unkind jibe to me against someone who would be criticised if she did turn up at the scene and equally criticised if she didn’t.

        December 5, 2013 at 10:17 pm
      • editor

        Well, there you go, Eileenanne – it’s all about one’s choice of interpretation.

        December 5, 2013 at 10:31 pm
      • Eileenanne

        And some things are so clear, interpretation is unnecessary.

        December 6, 2013 at 3:32 pm
      • Jacinta

        These days people have different interpretations of all sorts of things you would think were obvious. I think I’m being faithful to God’s law when I speak up against homosexuality but in the wrong company that’s interpreted as “homophobia”.

        December 6, 2013 at 6:36 pm
  • Frankier

    Editor, I suppose you are right in what you say but I really felt sorry for that young man, as well as the others of course. I just can’t stand the hypocrisy. I see Billy Connelly has now got in on the act, enough said.

    December 5, 2013 at 12:54 pm

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