Who Am I to Judge?
March 23, 2015 (crisismagazine.com) – I am sick and tired of this “who am I to judge?” silliness. Only God can judge the state of the human soul. But it is pure humbug to suggest we cannot and should not judge human behavior. Reluctance to judge moral behavior is the inevitable consequence of moral relativism and moral subjectivism that has eroded confidence in the ability to determine objective moral truth on which sound judgment is based.
Judgment is an essential component of the exercise of authority. If you do not have the courage to judge, then you should avoid positions of authority. Not being judgmental is a curse of our age. When I cautioned my teenagers not to hang out with so and so, the standard response was “Oh, Dad, you are so judgmental!” Not to judge is a dereliction of duty that afflicts so much of the Church’s hierarchy. It obscures our Lord’s message, sows confusion among the faithful, and undermines lay efforts to fight against the perversions of the day.
Absence of judgment or inept judgment in regard to the pederasty scandal elevated the deviant behavior of a relatively small number of miscreant priests into an international scandal that subjected the papacy to scorn and crippled the Church for several decades. A recent example of the “who am I to judge?” question involved homosexuality and was uttered by Cardinal Dolan in a very public venue.
Cardinal Dolan said the Bible tells us not to judge people. In response to a question on Meet the Press last year about the announcement that football player Michael Sam was a homosexual, Cardinal Dolan replied: “I would have no sense of judgment on him. God bless ya. I don’t think, look, the same Bible that tells us, that teaches us well about the virtues of chastity and the virtue of fidelity and marriage also tells us not to judge people. So I would say ‘bravo’.”
So, the Bible tells us not to judge people? Consider: “thus says the Lord: you, son of man, I have appointed watchman for the house of Israel; when you hear me say anything, you shall warn them for me if I tell the wicked, ‘oh, wicked one, you shall surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade the wicked one from his way, he shall die for his guilt, but I will hold you responsible for his death. But if you warn the wicked, trying to turn him from his way, and he refuses to turn from his way, he shall die for his guilt, but you shall save yourself (Ezekiel 33: 7 – 9).
Neither Peter nor Paul were squeamish about judging others:
Peter said to Simon the magician “Your heart is not upright before God. Repent of this wickedness of yours … for I see that you are filled with bitter gall, and you are in the bonds of iniquity” (Acts 8: 20 – 23).
Paul said to Elymas, “you son of the devil, you enemy of all that is right, full of every sort of deceit and fraud. Will you not stop twisting the straight paths of the Lord?” (Acts 13: 9 – 10).
Here are some excerpts from the epistles that illustrate judgment:
“When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he clearly was wrong” (Gal 2:11).
“Brothers, even if a person is caught in some transgression, you who are spiritual should correct that one in a gentle spirit…” (Gal 6:1).
“Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness; rather expose them…” (Gal 5: 11).
“Reprimand publicly those [presbyters] who do sin, so that the rest will also be afraid” (Tim 5:20).
“Therefore, admonish them sharply, so that they may be sound in the faith…” (Titus 1:13 – 14).
“Exhort and correct with all authority…” (Titus 2:15).
“I am convinced about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able to admonish one another” (Rom 15:14).