Do you have a scientific objection?
I have a argument based on human empathy. A mother and her daughter died because of a natural disaster, and Father Morris immediately jumps to the imaginary silver lining. His “great confidence” that God would have mercy on a child who died without accepting Jesus is not comforting . These are the times when it’s reasonable to ask why God would need to kill innocent people as part of any divine plan or to question your beliefs altogether.
You have a very good argument. The problem is that this person who made this statement was no more apt to do so than I am to articulate any biology-related topic on this site. There are two issues going on here:
Is it comforting that God would accept this child directly into heaven without any faith requirements? It may absolutely be comforting to the parents. They may unnecessarily worry (if they are people of faith) that their child did not have an opportunity to make a decision of faith. This relief is scriptural and people of faith need to know that this is so.
It is not God’s plan to kill innocent people. Things happen. It’s an imperfect world. Jesus himself said, “In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart, I have overcome the world.” The problem of pain and suffering is a big one, and very real. More real for some than others. But some people should simply not attempt to answer the question. It’s too big.
The “Problem of Evil” is one of the toughest theological questions that theologians have struggled with since the inception of religion. The fact that some religious leaders stumble through the problem isn’t surprising. I do believe that the priest has good intentions, even if atheists like ourselves don’t find much solace in what he is saying. Many of my closest family members are believers, and I know they find solace in their belief in an afterlife. I don’t find it necessary to question their beliefs in times like that, and I tend to think the same in this situation.
What we can all do is stand by people when they go through rough times and offer them the help they need.