Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon F. K. Bartels

2/18/2014 (9 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 (9 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 November 2014
Lonely people:
That all who suffer loneliness may experience the closeness of God and the support of others.
Mentors of seminarians and religious: That young seminarians and religious may have wise and well-formed mentors.



Comments


More Living Faith

Pope says church must extend help to immigrants, 'so that all may be treated as children of God' Watch

Image of The world must now recognize the advantages of migration. Host countries get new workers to meet production needs,

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Speaking to the 300 participants in the Vatican-sponsored World Congress on the Pastoral Care of Migrants, the Pope says that the Catholic Church "is a mother without limits and without borders." He says that the church must welcome and assist all of God's children, ... continue reading


Feast of Christ the King and Advent: What Does it Mean? Watch

Image of The Church really IS the Mystical Body of the Risen Christ. That Body is inseparably joined to the Head. Jesus Christ is alive, he has been raised, and he continues His redemptive mission now through the Church, of which we are members. As we choose to actually live our lives liturgically, not just go through the motions, we can move through life in the flow of the liturgical calendar. We can experience the deeper mystery and meaning of life, now made New in Jesus Christ, the One who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. (John 14:6,7) Jesus Christ is King! Jesus Christ is meant to become the Lord of our whole lives, and inform the very pattern of how we live them.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

On November 23rd we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. It is one of many opportunities the Catholic Liturgical Church year offers to each of us consider the creature which is called time, receive it as a gift and begin to really live differently. Yet, for ... continue reading


Two bishops dine and dialogue with peace activists

Image of War doesn't decide who is right, just who is left.

By Tony Magliano

During the recent U.S. Catholic bishops fall assembly in Baltimore, two bishops decided to forego the military chaplains dinner sponsored by the U.S. Army Chief of Chaplains Office, and attended instead a simple supper and discussion on peacemaking. On the evening of ... continue reading


'God always forgives, but the earth does not,' Pope warns Watch

Image of The Pope urged the world's leaders to rein in their greed and help the hungry.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A doomsday scenario in which Mother Nature would exact her revenge is possible, even likely, Pope Francis warns. The pontiff was speaking out against the exploitation of natural resources for profit. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Pope urged the world's ... continue reading


Pope Francis' special message: Why Poverty? 'And while we speak of new rights, the hungry remain'

Image of When we give our loaves and fishes to Christ, there is no end to the Good that can come from it.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has asked the world to do more to help those who suffer from hunger and malnutrition. Despite gains made in infrastructure and outpourings of food, too many people with plenty have done too little to help. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - With ... continue reading


How do you raise a good, upstanding child? With daily prayers, weekly church attendance and the knowledge of God Watch

Image of Billy Graham, now 96, has reached out to millions with his joyous words of the truth of God and Jesus Christ.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Reverend Billy Graham, the world famous television evangelist and founder and chairman of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, has said that the reason the world seems to be in such dire straits is that children are not being raised right. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Learning Lessons for Life from Zaccheus and that Sycamore Tree Watch

Image of Zaccheus climbed that tree in order to see the Lord, not to be seen by Jesus. He did not care what the crowd thought of a grown man climbing a tree! He went after the encounter with Jesus Christ with a childlike simplicity and a reckless abandon. Do we?

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The Sycamore tree created a clear line of vision for Zaccheus. It helped him to rise above the crowd and see the Lord clearly. It placed him in the right position for the invitation that would follow. Jesus told him to come down for he was coming to his house! ... continue reading


Jesus Weeps and Calls us to Recognize His Visitation Watch

Image of The Cross, an instrument of torture, will become the sign of peace, for those who find their refuge under its shadow and embrace the One who stretches out His arms to embrace the whole world. There Jesus will deal definitively with the great enemy of peace, the sin which impedes it in each of our lives. With tenderness He looks out from the Mount of Olives and sees the Holy City of Jerusalem. How he loves that City. Then, Jesus weeps. He knows the City will soon be overtaken and destroyed by the armies of Titus. He weeps the tears of Love and cries compassion from His Sacred Heart

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Jesus shows His disciples - and He shows us us, because we are His disciples in this hour - the pattern of living in a continual communion with the Father. He invites them - and He invites us - into this very communion of love which He has with the Father, in the ... continue reading


Children deserve both father and mother, Pope Francis says Watch

Image of Children have the right to be raised by a mother and a father, Pope Francis said, emphasizing that

By CNA/EWTN News

Children have the right to be raised by a mother and a father, Pope Francis said, emphasizing that "the family is the foundation of co-existence and a remedy against social fragmentation." Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - The Pope made these remarks on Nov. 17 at ... continue reading


Here are 10 Very Interesting Facts About the Catholic Church You Probably Didn't Know! Watch

Image of Pope Francis commands the world's smallest professional army.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

How much do you know about the Catholic Church? Here are 10 fun facts you might not know. See how many you know and post your result in the comments! 1.    Vatican City has the highest crime rate in the world! With a population around 500 people and a ... 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, Revelation 14:1-3, 4-5
1 Next in my vision I saw Mount Zion, and standing on ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
1 [Psalm Of David] To Yahweh belong the earth and all ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:1-4
1 Looking up, he saw rich people putting their ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 24th, 2014 Image

St. Andrew Dung Lac
November 24: Through the missionary efforts of various religious families ... 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