Is Sickness and Decease Punishment from God

I have heard my mother tell me that Catholics believe that illness (Cancer, decease, etc) is given to you by God for being bad and sinning; I have a hard time reconciling that with the Word of God which speaks of sickness and decease as being from the Evil One.

How do Catholics view sickness and decease? Punishment from God, or curse from the Devil?

How about “none of the above”!

Viewing it as you described sounds like something a Fundamentalist would come up with, rather than a Catholic :shrug:

Sickness and disease are generally viewed as a human condition, resulting from the medical indications (bacteria, heredity, accidents, etc) that caused the illness, rather than a “curse” or “punishment”.

The Lord told us to comfort those in need, tend to the sick, the poor, the hungry. That kind of requires some of us to fill the roles of poor, sick, imprisoned, hungry to allow others to fulfill Christ’s commandment. We fill those roles at various times, and sometimes allowing someone the pleasure of assisting/helping you is the best gift you can give them. That satisfaction.

There is also redemptive qualities to suffering, as well as learning humility. It is humbling to need assistance and depend on others, to realize that we need each other as Christ told us to be a community.

Just my .02

It certainly can be a form of temporal punishment, but it need not be. For example, Jesus suffered greatly (not from disease, but still it was physical harm) despite being sinless. Also infants get sick despite not having committed personal sin. Many saints (like many people in general) have suffered greatly at the end of their life, despite presumably not especially meriting much temporal punishment at that time in their lives, at least compared to many other, healthy people. Or consider the man born blind who Jesus said was not born blind because of his own sin or that of his parents, but so that God would be glorified through him. Or consider Job.

I sure hope the devil does not have the power to cause disease, though I wouldn’t rule out the possibility automatically since demons do seem to have some degree of influence over matter. But this would be akin to being poisoned or assaulted by a human being and would not answer the question of why God allowed it to happen.

I once heard a woman tell me how sad it was for her friend to have lost his son in a car accident. She said that he must have been so forsaken by God to have to experience this loss. It made me think about God the Father…(who also experienced the suffering and loss of life of HIS son, Jesus). So, if God the Father rendered it suitable for His pure and Holy Son to suffer, I suspect we would be onto something very powerful and great if we also found meaning and value in suffering.

There is indeed great meaning and value in suffering, or there can be if we offer it to God. Christianity is the religion of the Suffering God, after all. We Catholics are certainly not Health and Wellness Gospel nutcases, if that’s what the OP is worried about.

Sickness and death entered the world through sin. They are the cost associated with sin. Adam and Eve were not intended to die and could have avoided it. They would be alive today if not for their sin.

I’m quicker to say that God has a hand in blessing and healing than in cursing and destroying. For the most part we do a good enough job to bring about our downfall than Satan could ever do.

your mother is mistaken and probably got that misinformation from some other sincere but badly catechized person. Challenge her to provide you the source in a reliable church document ie the catechism.

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