Context: the circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood and assessed
Tolerance: the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with
Love: an intense feeling of deep affection
Judgement: the ability to make considered decisions or come to sensible conclusions
Pope: the bishop of Rome and the earthly head of the One Holy and Apostolic Church
Now, on the front these may not seem like they are related and that I have no clear purpose, but in the last week I’ve been told that:
- I dislike someone for the sole fact that they are gay and I’m judgemental
- I am more tolerant, liberal and loving than my friend. A friend that I happen to agree with on everything
- That I/we shouldn’t judge because both Jesus and the Pope didn’t judge.
It frustrates me beyond belief.
I love people but loving isn’t about making sure they are happy it is about wanting what’s best for them. Loving an alcoholic doesn’t mean you love them drinking alcohol. Loving my homosexual friends doesn’t mean I love their actions or support their marriages.
Separating the action from the person is something that is possible, but so many people are not able to disengage the person from the action.
Fact: I don’t like Kathleen Wynne and think she will be a terrible premier of Ontario. For the following reasons:
- The Ontario Liberals have already turned Ontario from a have province to a have-not province
- She has tried to pass extremely explicit sex ed programs for schools (including Ontario Catholic Schools)
- She has cost Ontario 1 billion dollars due to some failed gas plants
- She believes that government should be involved in the minutiae of everybody’s life
- One of her former advisors has been arrested for exploitation of a child
She also happens to be a lesbian. But her sexual orientation had nothing to do with my decision to dislike her as a politician.
I have a friend who is loving, caring and wonderful and who also happens to be gay. I don’t love him any less, however, he is under the impression that I am accepting of his engagement and pending “marriage”. I don’t. He and I aren’t close and homosexuality and the Catholic teaching on it are so often misunderstood that I don’t like getting into it on my Facebook page. I keep it to easy topics like life issues and Jesus.
The common threat with both accusations is Pope Francis. In both of the Facbook threads Pope Francis’ “who am I to judge” quote reared its ugly head (seriously, that quote is like a hydra. The heads just keep growing) and how Jesus asks us not to judge but love. Because Jesus never judges.
The problem with these phrases and misconception is that people miss the context. Context is important because it tells us the intentions of the speaker.
“Then you spoke of the gay lobby. Goodness knows! So much is written of the gay lobby. I still have not met one who will give me the identity card with “gay”. They say that they exist. I think that when one meets a person like this, one must distinguish the fact of being a gay person from the fact of doing a lobby, because not all lobbies are good. That’s bad. If a person is gay and seeks the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge him? The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this in such a beautiful way, it says, Wait a bit, as is said and says: “these persons must not be marginalized because of this; they must be integrated in society.” — Pope Francis
And what about Jesus?
Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment. – John 7:24
15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. – Matthew 18: 15-18
3 For though absent in body I am present in spirit, and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment 4 in the name of the Lord Jesus on the man who has done such a thing. When you are assembled, and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. 6 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Let us, therefore, celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with immoral men; 10 not at all meaning the immoral of this world, or the greedy and robbers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But rather I wrote to you not to associate with any one who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or robber–not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. “Drive out the wicked person from among you.” – 1 Corinthians 5: 3-13
Jesus asks us to judge in order to lead others to Him. Pope Francis doesn’t judge those of “good will” who are “seeking the Lord”. Honestly and intentionally seeking the Lord means chastity. Chastity is contrary to premarital sex, support of same sex “marriage” and support of homosexual acts. We are asked to lead these people to Christ. This requires judgement and admonishment.
I, personally, would rather that someone tell me that I’m being sinful (especially if it is a mortal sin) and let me know rather than be non-judgemental and letting me risk my own salvation.
Mortal sin separates us from God and his graces. This is why the sacrament of Reconciliation is so important.
The final judgement, the final word, is always God. He sees our souls and upon our death he will purify us in purgatory (provided we are willing). But, and this is big, we are still responsible for getting each other into heaven. We can’t rely on being non-judgemental and hoping they will find Jesus on their own. Jesus commands:
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age. — Matthew 28:19-20
So, in summation:
Tolerance: Not restricting or discriminating against people that you disagree with or dislike
Love: Accepting a person, and loving them for their inherent dignity, without enabling or accepting their sinful actions. Wanting what is best for a person.
Context: the most important thing to consider when you are quoting a person
Judgement: separating the sin from the person. Admonishing the sin because you love them and want what is best for them
Pope: a son of the Church
But, and this is a big, huge, important but, we must remember that all of what we do must, first and foremost, come from a place of charity.
If charity is lost our message is lost.
And if our message is lost we have failed at Jesus’ command to make disciples of all nations.