Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon F. K. Bartels

2/18/2014 (11 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Within Christendom today, the necessity of proper judgment is often misunderstood, misrepresented, and even roundly rejected, in contradiction to the words of Jesus Christ and the context of divine revelation as a whole.

My daughter, whose duties include saving the lives of children, recently posted on Facebook the content of a conversation she had with another, unnamed nurse who works at Planned Parenthood. While my daughter is engaged in saving young people's lives, the other nurse is engaged in ending them. The comments that ensued displayed a serious lack of understanding with regard to proper, charitable judgment ordered toward fraternal correction, the good of another, as well as the good of society collectively.

Highlights

By Deacon F. K. Bartels

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/18/2014 (11 months ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Judgment, rash judgment, proper judgment, sin, loss of the sense of sin, catholic church, Church, Deacon F. K. Bartels


GLADE PARK, CO (Catholic Online)--When we look at the sad state of contemporary society in the West, with its rapid and seemingly unstoppable, terrifying downward moral spiral, there are a number of problem areas that can be identified as culprits of what many see as the onset of its looming demise. One of these areas, perhaps the most significant, is the loss of the sense of the seriousness of sin. As a symptom of this loss in recognizing the deadly, destructive nature of sin, is the notion that one may never make judgments about what is right or wrong; that one may never bring another person's grave sin to their attention; that one must never speak out, but rather is always to silently tolerate the intolerable.

Further, within this bubble of false tolerance, there is prevalent among Christians the notion that nobody has any "right" or duty whatsoever to labor to instill Christian values in others and the world. We are often told that the Christian must not "impose" his or her ideas on anyone else. Everyone has a "right to their opinion," they say. Under the yoke of silence, Christians are, then, powerless to change society, to heal it and to purify it with the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit, since the truth must remain unspoken, undefended, hidden.

As an example, my daughter, whose duties include saving the lives of children, recently posted on Facebook the content of a conversation she had with another, unnamed nurse who works at Planned Parenthood. While my daughter is engaged in saving young people's lives, the other nurse is engaged in ending them.

As a result of that post, a stream of comments soon ensued. Among them was one that went something like this: "I'm not in favor of abortion, but we must not judge others. Planned Parenthood does lots of good in the world, like providing counseling and contraceptives. Who am I to tell someone what they should do with their own body? After all, Jesus Christ said "Do not judge, and you will not be judged" (Lk 6:37).

In this one, short, specious and bizarre but not uncommon comment, there are a number of serious problems. First, within the context of abortion, we are not talking about what someone "does with their own body" but what they do to other people with their body; namely, the intentional killing of innocent, unborn human persons. Second, adhering to the notion that Planned Parenthood "does lots of good in the world" because they counsel couples, is akin to raising the many tyrants in history who are responsible for the deaths of millions to heroic status because they handed out some candy. But what about the words of Jesus? Did our Savior ever condemn all types of judgment?

One problem we find in contemporary Christianity is that some Christians who read the Bible do not read it well. That is, they fail to interpret Scripture in its entire context. Additionally, they fail to read Scripture in union with the living body of the Church. Last, they reject or ignore the authority of the Church, the Magisterium, who alone is divinely authorized to interpret Scripture authentically. That, of course, is not to suggest that well-meaning Christians should not read and interpret Scripture at all; but it is to say that when Scripture is interpreted in an individualistic and isolated way, in rejection of the Church whose soul is the Holy Spirit, and who formally canonized the scriptures within the context of her divine liturgy, all kinds of serious problems quickly develop.

But back to the question: Did Jesus condemn all types of judgment? Nope. On the contrary, Jesus himself calls us to judge properly and with charity for the sake of building up the kingdom of God, for the sake of healing individuals and society. Fraternal correction for the good of another is an act of charity that is encouraged by Jesus and by the authors of the New Testament.

First, let's take a look at Luke 6:37. If we back up to v. 27, we find that the words of Jesus regarding judgment are given within the context of love of enemies and exercising the virtues of mercy and forgiveness. Further, if we read all the way to v. 42, we find that Jesus does not condemn all forms of judgment but rather hypocrisy.

"How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me remove that splinter in your eye,' when you do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye? You hypocrite! Remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter in your brother's eye" (Lk 6:42).

And what happens when we fail to remove the beam from our eye, lead a life of holiness, and properly judge what is right and wrong, that we may see and walk with the light of God? In that case, the blind lead the blind, and both fall into a pit (Lk 6:39).

In Luke chapter 6, Jesus cannot be condemning all forms of judgment because he admonishes us to remove the splinter from a brother's eye only after our own sight is restored to clarity. When we see clearly, we can then help others to do the same, which is all about charity and love, all about building up the kingdom of God.

In Luke chapter 17, we read that Jesus said this to his disciples: "Things that cause sin will inevitably occur, but woe to the person through whom they occur. It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he wrongs you seven times in one day and returns to you seven times saying, 'I am sorry,' you should forgive him" (17:1-4).

Those are very strong words stressing the crucial importance of speaking the truth and forgiving others. Jesus teaches a proper balance in judging. We are to be forgiving and merciful; we are never to rashly judge or jump to conclusions due to faulty assumptions. We are not to nitpick one another for minor faults of human weakness. However, nowhere in the context of Scripture do we find a condemnation of proper, careful and charitable judgment.

In Matthew 18:15 ff., Jesus commands us to reprove another who sins, with the final arbitrator as the Church. In this chapter, Jesus gives to his Church the power to bind and loose; that is, he confers upon the Church authority over all matters of faith and morals.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us that "sin is a personal act" and we "have responsibility for the sins committed by others when we cooperate in them: by participating directly and voluntarily in them; by ordering, advising, praising, or approving them; by not disclosing or not hindering them when we have an obligation to do so; by protecting evil-doers" (Article 1868).

Sin "creates a proclivity to sin," engenders vice, and "results in perverse inclinations which cloud conscience and corrupt the concrete judgment of good and evil." Sin "tends to reproduce itself and reinforce itself" (CCC 1865). "Thus sin makes men accomplices of one another and causes concupiscence, violence, and injustice to reign among them" (CCC 1869).

It is important to point out that much of the refusal to speak the truth is fueled by a fear of not only speaking the truth openly, but also of first judging our own actions, sins and so forth, and of cleaning up our own lives. To be Christian is to be courageous.

The Church has always taken the words of Jesus with the utmost seriousness. In her words of truth, we learn the fullness of Jesus teaching on proper judgment, the deadly nature of sin, and its effects on individuals and society collectively. We learn that we are called by God to be a People of God whose lives are governed by free and loving obedience to the truth; and whose actions and words are to always be ordered toward building up the kingdom of heaven.

-----

Deacon Fred Bartels serves the Diocese of Pueblo as an ordained member of the Catholic clergy.  He believes that to be a faithful Catholic whose life is lived in the womb of the Church is one of the greatest blessings anyone could ever receive. He is a contributing writer for Catholic Online. Visit him also at joyintruth.com


---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for January 2015
General Intention:
That those from diverse religious traditions and all people of good will may work together for peace.
Missionary Intention: That in this year dedicated to consecrated life, religious men and women may rediscover the joy of following Christ and strive to serve the poor with zeal.



Comments


More Living Faith

Andrew M. Greenwell: Jesus is the Heart and the Marvel of the Gospel Watch

Image of Since the incarnation of the Word, the

By Andrew M. Greenwell

If pursued, and pursued rightly (that is, without moral or intellectual prejudice), metaphysics leads us to a threshold, a threshold we might call the limina fidei, the threshold of faith.  Reason takes us to a place where we know God--that He is.  But ... continue reading


Who Are My Mother and Brothers? We are the Family of Jesus Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Through our Baptism, we are invited into the very family of God. When we choose to respond to grace and live in obedience to the will and the Word of God; we enter into an eternal relationship with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We actually become a part of ... continue reading


St Francis DeSales Challenges Us to Live a Life of True Devotion Watch

Image of Today in our Liturgical calendar in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, we remember St Francis DeSales (1567-1610). The Saints are all given as examples to emulate. They are our companions on the journey, men and women like us who responded to God's invitation to become like Jesus. They pray for us because we are joined with them in the eternal communion of love. They also put legs on the Gospel, showing us what holiness looks like.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

I say that devotion must be practiced in different ways by the nobleman and by the working man, by the servant and by the prince, by the widow, by the unmarried girl and by the married woman. But even this distinction is not sufficient; for the practice of ... continue reading


Hey Main Stream Media - Do Your Job! Media Bias on March for Life Watch

Image of The hundreds of thousands who gatherred in Washington, DC were virtually ignored by the mainstream media because they gave a voice to children in the womb intentionally killed by procured abortion

By Catherine Contreras

What do you get when over 500,000 people attend the March for Life in Washington DC? Yup. A biased main stream media barely covering it, again. OAKLAND, CA (Catholic Online) - On the 42nd Anniversary of Roe v Wade, the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion in ... continue reading


Arlington Diocesan teachers provide English Language Learners with special support Watch

Image of Fourth-grade students work on personalized language arts activities at St. Thomas More Cathedral School in Arlington. (Christine Stoddard, The Arlington Catholic Herald)

By Christine Stoddard, The Arlington Catholic Herald

Step into Sarah Conrad's pre-kindergarten classroom at St. Thomas More Cathedral School in Arlington and you'll see the usual suspects: tiny furniture, storybooks, brightly colored posters and educational toys. But you'll also notice that laminated labels abound. ... continue reading


'Self righteousness is not going to change peoples' attitudes and save babies,' Cardinal says Watch

Image of Cardinal Sean O'Malley says that the abortion issue in the United States is a call for those of all faiths to action.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In delivering his homily at the March for Life vigil in Washington D.C., Cardinal Sean O'Malley said that indifference is the "greatest enemy" of the pro-life movement, adding that "to change people's hearts we must love them." Speaking at the Basilica of the ... continue reading


Eighth Annual Stand Up 4 Life Rally|Walk in Oakland, California! Watch

Image of Walk for Life in California

By Catherine Contreras

"If Black lives matter, they have to matter in the womb first. Because if Black lives don't matter in the womb, they don't matter anywhere else. So join us and help us speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves." - Walter B. Hoye II, Founder and President of ... continue reading


Papal Nuncio to Join Walk for Life West Coast! Watch

Image of Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigaṇ

By Catherine Contreras

The Walk for Life West Coast is honored to announce that Archbishop Carlo Maria ViganĂ², the Holy Father's Ambassador to the United States, will be attending the 11th Annual Walk for Life West Coast in San Francisco, on January 24, 2015. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Build a Culture of Life! A Rally Cry Was Heard In Los Angeles!

Image of Pro-lifers marched in One Life LA on January 17, 2015.

By Catherine Contreras

 A Rally Cry Was Heard in Los Angeles, California, "Build a Culture of Life! A Culture That Loves Life and That Defends Life!" The Mission of OneLifeLA is to unite communities and inspire positive action through an annual event that promotes the beauty and ... continue reading


Catholics fail to practice 'responsible parenthood' when they have too many children, Pope Francis says Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis recently praised Blessed Paul VI for defending Catholic teaching against contraception. At the same time, "this does not mean a Christian must make children one after another," the Pope added. In fact, Catholics fail to practice "responsible ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Hebrews 10:1-10
1 So, since the Law contains no more than a ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 40:2, 4, 7-8, 10, 11
2 He pulled me up from the seething chasm, from the ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 3:31-35
31 Now his mother and his brothers arrived and, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for January 27th, 2015 Image

St. Angela Merici
January 27: When she was 56, Angela Merici said "No" to the Pope. She was ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter