I must be a mean person on this blog. I get emails on a bunch of stuff but very few comments. Weird.
My last email surge came from the disaster post (as expected), with the primary emphases being on the above question. The trend seems to be that since the children involved in major disasters haven't done anything wrong, then the bad stuff that happens can't be tagged as a consequence of sin. I think this way of thinking misses a couple of things.
First, it doesn't take into account that original sin by itself makes for bad stuff.
Second, the focus on the cause of the suffering is misplaced. It tries to make the disaster in question God's fault rather than our own. If a society is sinful and is punished by God for that sinfulness and innocents bear some measure of that punishment, it seems to me that the fault doesn't lie with God, but rather with those sinful people in that society. They (we) caused the suffering of those innocents by their (our) actions. This might be a hard pill to swallow that our actions have such far-reaching consequences, but given the Catholic understanding of the social nature of sin, I don't think it unreasonable.
It's a common human trait to try and blame others for the bad things that we make happen. This isn't a modern thing. It's been going on for a long time:
And he said to him: And who has told you that you were naked, but that you have eaten of the tree whereof I commanded you that you should not eat? And Adam said: The woman, whom you gave me to be my companion, gave me of the tree, and I ate. And the Lord God said to the woman: Why have you done this? And she answered: The serpent deceived me, and I ate.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that when bad things happen, we should take a long look in the mirror instead of trying to find ways to turn it around on God.