Saturday, 29 May 2010

On judging

Bloggers come in for a bit of flack from time to time, particularly when they are critical of those in or out of the Church, so I always enjoy good defences of our role. So do go and read this one by the excellent Fr Finigan of the Hermaneutic of Continuity blog.

Fr Finigan takes the 'Judge not, lest yet be judged' text and points out that:

"We cannot "judge" someone in the way that God judges us. (He will judge us, by the way.) We do not have the right to make such a judgement, or in fact the information on which to base it. Only God knows the subjective state of an individual's soul... Nevertheless, we can and should judge all of those publicly known horrors as objectively evil.

In the case of politicians who have voted in favour of abortion, embryo experimentation, assisted suicide, and passive euthanasia, we are entitled to look at their voting record and to make an objective judgement that what they have voted for is wrong, and call them to account for it. A public figure, making public decisions, in the public square, may be subjected to reasonable judgement as to the rightness or wrongness of their public actions. The political life of the country would not function without the people being able to express their opinions in such matters.

Within the Church, the same distinction applies. In recent months, a number of bishops have resigned from their office because of public judgement passed on their public actions or their failure to act. Inside the household of the faith, aware of Our Lord's words, we pray and beseech Our Lord to forgive "whatever sins they have committed through human frailty" and ask Him to judge them mercifully....

The media, including Catholic blogs, can do a service for society and the Church in exposing crimes, lies, and failures. To do so is not to contravene the teaching of Our Lord...

Quoting Our Lord's words "judge not..." can be an easy way to cover up public failures, whether in teaching, governing, or the safeguarding of children. Forming a reasonable judgement, on the basis of good information, is not only a right, but a duty of a Christian concerned with the common good. The challenge which Christ lays before us is to distinguish in our minds and hearts such objective judgement from any pharisaical judgement of another's soul."
Do go and read the whole thing. 
Fr Z has also done a spruiking of it.


Cardinal Pole said...

There's a good comment at Fr. Zuhlsdorf's post on the topic--unsurprisingly, it turns out that the Sodomites (note the capital s) are the first people recorded as complaining about people being 'judgemental'!

Terra said...

Thanks for drawing my attention to that that Cardinal, Gen 19:4-9 is a beautiful scriptural quote, worth learning off by heart!

Cardinal Pole said...

You're welcome, Terra!

(P.S. (off-topic) You might be interested in the following article:


"In 1987 [Brunello] Cucinelli ["king of cashmere"!] moved his business into the castle and slowly began to acquire neighbouring properties to create the type of business at which people of all ages would be proud to work.

"Now 20 per cent of the company's revenue goes towards restoring and developing Solomeo. Cucinelli has constructed a magnificent 240-seat theatre, a sports centre and invested in impressive staff facilities.

""The theatre is an important part of my mission," Cucinelli says. "It is part of what I have tried to do by following the teachings of St Francis and St Benedict: to improve mankind through things such as the arts."

"The teachings of St Benedict are always on the tip of Cucinelli's tongue as he strives to create a humanist business model. Other companies and institutions are keeping a close eye on his ethical improvements. In 2006, the business started a research and exchange program with students from Harvard University."