MANILA — A Catholic prelate wants to replace the use of the phrase “act of God” as it makes God as the cause of “catastrophe, calamity and misfortune”.
Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas noted the phrase “act of God” commonly used in contracts, especially insurance contracts, and in law and jurisprudence “conveys the thought that God is the cause of human misery and tragedy” to replace it with felicitous expressions already available like fortuitous events, natural calamities, force majeure, and others.
“We therefore urge all who have thus far used the term ‘acts of God’ to employ more felicitous and less misleading terms such as ‘fortuitous events’, ‘natural calamities’, force majeure or ‘impediment contingencies’ so as not to perpetrate a mistaken notion of Divine causality and the will of God,”!he said in a statement issued on Friday.
Villegas added,“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’”.
The president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is not in favor the use of “act of God” in reference to tragic events, which contradicts the picture of an all-loving God.
“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!” Villegas said.
The prelate added, “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.”