Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon F. K. Bartels

2/18/2014 (1 year 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 (1 year 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'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Living Faith

What really caused Apostle Paul's blindness? Scientists believe they've figured it out Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A comparison among modern celestial events may help find what caused Apostle Paul to lose his eyesight for three days. His temporary blindness is an important historical event for the Christians as it led to where religion and the world is today, making it a ... continue reading


Conference sets out to bring the Gospel to the streets

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An amazing conference striving to bring the Gospel to the streets will be held in San Clemente, CA on May 2. Speakers will focus on inspiring followers of Christ to apply the Gospel to today's social issues. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Those attending will ... continue reading


'Peace be with You'

Image of

By Tony Magliano

"On the evening of that first day of the week," according to the Gospel of John, "when the doors were locked, where the disciples were... Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, 'Peace be with you.' " To his closest followers, who feared that they too ... continue reading


Slaughter of Ethiopian Christians is 'a testimony which cries out to be heard,' Pope Francis says Watch

Image of Depicted in a 29-minute video, entitled

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In speaking of the wholesale slaughter of at least 30 Ethiopian Christians by the Islamist State in Libya, Pope Francis declared that the blood of Christians "is a testimony which cries out to be heard by everyone who can still distinguish between good and ... continue reading


Catholic pastor warns parishioners faith is not enough for safety, encourages gun possession Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Issuing a pro-gun letter to the members of the church, Reverend Edward Fride encourages having guns and attending a concealed pistol license (CPL) classes. Through the letter, the pastor from the Christ the King Catholic Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan, warned there may ... continue reading


Apostle of California, Father Junipero Serra, to be canonized by Pope during U.S. visit Watch

Image of Professor Guzman Carriquiry, Secretary in charge of the Vice-Presidency of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America recently expressed his displeasure at the news of the California Senate's wish to replace the statue of Brother Junipero with that of a NASA astronaut.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis is scheduled to personally preside over the canonization ceremony of Father Junipero Serra in Washington, D.C. on September 23 during his U.S. visit. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The ceremony will take place in the open space in front of the ... continue reading


'Faith must not be turned into power,' Pope Francis warns Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis, at mass in St. Martha's House, recalled that many people follow Jesus simply out of self-interest. This "spirit, which lies behind or beneath a varnish of Christianity leads people to live like pagans," he warned. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) ... continue reading


Oops! The Bible did not say that: 7 famous viral quotes people think came from the Bible Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Social media and the Internet has made it easier to share anything anywhere. Most of the time we spend in cyberspace, we see come across wonderful statements --- about life, love and other concerns. It assures us that we are not alone, we are going to beat every ... continue reading


The Experience of the Resurrected Christ: A Divine Dream Worth Dying For

Image of

By Deacon Frederick Bartels

The dream of God is a dream of unending, divine love. His only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, sacrificed his human life for this Dream: the redemption of humankind and the gift of eternal life and perfect happiness. Heaven is the divine dream that is not but a dream, it ... continue reading


Pope Francis 'considering' visit to Cuba Watch

Image of A nun waves a Vatican flag while attending Mass with St John Paul II in Havana in 1998.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis is said to be considering a trip to Cuba this coming September. The papal visit would tie into his visit to the United States. The gesture could lead to improving relations both between Cuba and the U.S. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Vatican ... 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, Acts 4:8-12
8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, addressed ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 118:1, 8-9, 21-23, 26, 21, 29
1 Alleluia! Give thanks to Yahweh for he is good, for ... Read More

Gospel, John 10:11-18
11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd lays ... Read More

Reading 2, First John 3:1-2
1 You must see what great love the Father has ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 26th, 2015 Image

St. Cletus
April 26: St. Cletus was the third bishop of Rome, and succeeded St. ... 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