Wednesday, September 4, 2013

TFTD: Judging the Church?

From Canon 212 §3. According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons. (Emphasis added)

One major irritant I have with the Catholic blogosphere is the tendency of some bloggers to piss and moan about "the Church" when they don't like how the pastor, bishop, curia official or Pope handles something.

Now having a preference on how some things should be handled is not a sin of course. There are certainly things I wish had been handled differently.  However people can sin against charity in how they express themselves.

Also, with a charitable attitude of criticism (as opposed to pissing and moaning),  one should consider their qualifications and knowledge of the situation for saying "the Church oughta do it this way," if they're going to judge the Church.

Now, I don't want to come across as "holier than thou." I'm ashamed that in the early years of this blog, I had a very sarcastic view of our bishops and disrespectfully ranted on how ineffectual they seemed to me. While I did have some different ideas on what I thought would be best, I realize now that my expression was not an appropriate way to speak about a successor to the Apostles.

Nor do I want to sound like someone who supports the Church in a "my country right or wrong" kind of way. The administrative actions of the Church don't fall under the category of infallible.

But reason requires that we make an informed critique when we say "that is not a good way to do it!" Do we know all the factors involved in the decision?  Is it possible that the bishop would have loved to use tactic A, but because of obstacles, had to settle for B?

If we don't know, how can we avoid being guilty of rash judgment?

2477 Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury. 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;
— 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.

(Catechism of the Catholic Church)

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