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Written Word > Articles & Commentaries > July 2010 > The Spiritual Value of the BP Oil Leak
Current rating: 5 (3 ratings)
Dr. Jose Otero
Dear Father Barron,
I agree with many of your points. Namely, that in our modern lives, there is a tendency to abandon spiritual life, and so to fill this chasm we rely on science. Science can never substitute a religion because science is not the quest for truth. Rather, science is a method/intellectual approach that we use to answer specific questions. Hence, there is good science (i.e., well designed science) and bad science (i.e., poorly designed). So wholeheartedly I agree that relying on science to explain the greatest mystery of life is wrong on many levels. After all, truth cannot be qualified as good or bad.

However, I strongly disagree that the oil spill has in any way inherent spiritual value. This disaster was unnecessary and caused by human error. Furthermore, the only solution to this problem will be through the use of modern technology. I cannot see any spiritual connection with this.
7/13/2010 1:13:58 PM
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Dr. Jose-

I don't think Father Barron is trying to say that the oil leak has any "inherent" spiritual value, as if it happened for the purpose of teaching us a spiritual lesson. It sounds like Father agrees that we must do all we can to curb its effects by using the tools of this world. The spill is awful, tragic, terribly unfortunate, maddening, etc., etc. But, what now? His point, it seems to me, is that we can look at tragic situations retrospectively and glean spiritual insights from our often off-kilter relationship with the things of this world. The spiritual value is revealed in the way we deal with the situation, not in the situation itself. In this light, it seems that everything has some sort of "spiritual connection" to us in so far as it engages us and forces a reaction. The connection proves to be valuable when we humbly submit ourvelves to God in radical dependency-- this is not some sort of disconnected interior disposition, but we allow God to inform our understanding of ourselves in light of the tragedy, and we act accordingly with the help of His grace.

On a lighter note, the cliche line--"the best way out is through" holds true here. If we have to go through this oil spill catasptrophe, allowing it to shed light on who we are in the presence of God seems like the best way.
7/13/2010 1:57:46 PM
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Dear Father

Not only this, can we ever create a Drop of water!?
8/3/2010 3:56:40 AM
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