MANILA, March 14, 2011–Tragedies are a wakeup call to repentance, a retired Catholic archbishop said in the wake of the killer quake and consequent tsunami that hit Japan.

Rather than put God or the victim of these disasters on trial, Archbishop Oscar Cruz said people should know life’s fragile nature and the reality of the coming judgment.

“Fires and floods, earthquakes and tsunami–and many other catastrophic events–are but reminders for people to repent, to be just, and to live right,” Cruz said.

In the Philippines, he said, the 2006 “lahar phenomenon” in Albay, the “Ondoy” tragedy in 2009 and even the Maguindanao Massacre and other human tragedies all carry the message for the people to repent.

“Do repentance and make amends because you do not now know when your life will be taken away, when end of the world will take place. Human death and world end are unstoppable eventualities,” Cruz said.

The former president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines particularly cited the need for contrition of those greedy individuals and corrupt politicians.

“They would help themselves if they ‘repent and believe in the Gospel,’” said Cruz.

‘End of the world’

According to Cruz, “as the world has a beginning, it also has an end”. In short, he said, a doomsday scenario is “certain.”

“The end of the world is a certitude–with or without harmful biotechnology ventures, with or without climate change and other assault at nature,” he said.

But as to when would that be, the 76-year old prelate said no one knows except God.

“In other words, when exactly the end of the world will happen, is categorically unknown to everybody else,” he said.

“Hence, if certain individuals, some characters say that they know when, the truth is definitely not with them,” Cruz added.

The archbishop made the statement Monday amid some talks of prophecies of doom brought by the 8.9-magnitude tremor in Japan.

As of Monday, the death toll from the devastating earthquake and tsunami was placed at around 2,500 but Japanese officials said that more than 10,000 people are estimated to have died from the tragedy. [CBCPNews]