This was a terrible natural disaster. There is to be a mass funeral for all those who died. The attached link is to a BBC news report - the pope and senior clergy expressing hope and urging victims to be strong and imploring God's mercy. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/7992936.stm A few on here might know that I'm a member of the Church of England. It's things like this that test faith to the utmost. Rather than all the usual mutterings you'd expect from His Holiness - particularly at Easter - perhaps the more pertinent question is why does God allow this sort of thing to happen in the first place. The world is so imperfect in so many ways and I simply don't have an answer. When I had my off 5 years ago the vicar called to see me. I asked him why, if God is all powerful, does he allow tragedy to happen. He also struggled for an answer, but suggested: 1. Can you imagine a word where God intervenes at every pending mishap - the vicar suggested that if you were about to spill your mug of coffee, and your hand was suddenly righted, how would you feel? 2. God has given us all freedom of choice in a non-interventionist world; 3. The resurrection of Jesus shows us that God is more powerful than ever we could think, as will not leave us in times of suffering; 4. God's healing power is a glimpse of the glory of the Kingdom. I wasn't convinced. I really struggle with this. Tragedy on the scale of the Italian earthquake - or any other disaster - flies in the face of the established Christian (and Muslim) orthodoxy that God is all powerful and all loving, and tests faith to the utmost. Thoughts?