FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
WHO AM I TO JUDGE?
March 20, 2015
Pope Francis, when asked about the situation of a priest with homosexual orientation, remarked “Who am I to judge?” The homosexualists were ecstatic with joy, and spread their conclusion that the pope was now tolerant and accepting of homosexuality. This is entirely out of context. What the pope actually said was, “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”
Church teaching is that homosexuality is intrinsically disordered, but the sin comes in active homosexuality, that is, having sex with a person of the same sex. We in fact are to treat homosexuals with respect and love, as they are children of God. Homosexuals in fact can be genuinely searching for God and avoiding sin in the process. Thus Pope Francis, as should be the case with all of us, was not condemning (or judging) one just for being a homosexual, that is, having a homosexual orientation.
But today’s liberals/progressives/modernists would have us accept homosexuality, both as an orientation and also in active practice. They say we should not condemn. We must be accepting, tolerant, welcoming. We are not to judge. We are also confused by Jesus’ own teaching: “Stop judging, that you may not be judged.” (Mt 7:1).
So can we, or should we not, judge? Yes and no. Jesus himself gives the guideline: “Stop judging by appearances, but judge justly.” (Jn 7:24). How do we do this?
* It is right to condemn objective sin and wrongdoing.
* It is right for us to point out someone’s sin (see Mt 18:15-17).
* When we judge the sin of others, it should be with the intent of bringing the sinner back to God and helping ensure his soul’s salvation (see Jas 5:20).
* We must be aware of our own shortcomings. We must not judge hypocritically and self-righteously (see Mt 7:2-5).
When we judge the objective sinful act itself, then we are judging justly. However, we still should not judge the person by appearances. This means that a person might be committing an objective sin but might not personally be in grave sin. For example:
* Becoming a prostitute out of extreme dire need, with no other alternatives available, or because one is trafficked and is forced into it. So there is no full consent to the sin.
* Using abortifacient contraceptives due to lack of knowledge about Church teaching. So there is no full knowledge about grave sin.
Homosexualists want not to be judged, so that their objective sin is not pointed out or condemned. While applauding tolerance by others in not judging them, they themselves are very intolerant of those who do point out their sin. They in fact become vehement and violent. They who proclaim “love, love, love” are actually very hateful of those who disagree with their lifestyle.
This was Jesus experience. “The world …. hates me, because I testify to it that its works are evil.” (Jn 7:7). When we condemn active homosexuality as evil, the secular and liberal world will also hate us. “He judges us debased; he holds aloof from our paths as from things impure.” (Wis 2:16a).
For our part, we are to hate the sin but love the sinner. Love is to speak the truth. Mercy is to invite a sinner to repentance.
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