Thursday, March 28, 2013

Pope Francis and Rash Judgment

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

2477 Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury.278 He becomes guilty:

- of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor;

- of detraction who, without objectively valid reason, discloses another's faults and failings to persons who did not know them;279

- of calumny who, by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them.

2478 To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor's thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way:

Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another's statement than to condemn it. But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other understands it. And if the latter understands it badly, let the former correct him with love. If that does not suffice, let the Christian try all suitable ways to bring the other to a correct interpretation so that he may be saved.280

The news has come out that two of the individuals whose feet he washed at the youth prison happened to be female, and one of them a Muslim.  Traditional Catholics were horrified. 

I usually dread these kind of stories… not because I think Pope Francis did wrong (See here for Jimmy Akin's good explanation as to why the Pope did not), but because invariably somebody is going to get all up in arms about how the Pope is a heretic or somehow committing a terrible sin and it is so tiresome to have to explain the faith to someone who should already know better.

The long and the short of it is the Pope is the supreme legislator of the Church and does have the authority to make decisions on how the Papal ceremonies are to be carried out.  Since the Pope did not make a change in Catholic Dogma or Doctrine nor change the Church teaching on faith and morals, he has not gone out of bounds in any way or sinned.

Sure, it might have been less startling if he had announced the change first, but he was not obligated to do so.

What Pope Francis seems to have done is seek to use Christ's example to show how he, as the Vicar of Christ, seeks to follow his Master's instructions – as the master, Christ showed how the Church is to be the servant.  Pope Francis seems to have decided to bear witness to how the Church is at the service of all – including felons and among those felons, including female Muslims.

There was no perversion of the Washing of the Feet by what He did.

Because there was no wrong done, and because we are required to look at the Pope's actions with charity and not assuming any moral fault on his part.

Otherwise there will be a scandal of Holy Thursday – and we will be the ones guilty of it.

No comments:

Post a Comment