Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Rash Judgment and imprudence.

Diane at Te deum Blog has a timely post discussing the issue of rash judgement in Catholic new media, as well as social media, explaining,
 "I have often wondered whether we have engaged in rash judgment online without realizing it because we do not understand it and have not contemplated the matter. Typically, when the 8th Commandment is taught to young people, the focus is on telling the truth and not to tell lies. However, few sources really discuss rash judgment.
A simple rule to follow is that we cannot judge someone else's motive, or the state of their soul. We are sometimes incapable of discerning our own motives, especially when we fail to spend time in silence and prayer. How much more incapable when it involves motives behind other people's words and actions. We cannot claim that someone in a position of authority is a coward because he did not do this or that. We may make the observation that something was not done, but we get into trouble when we continue with the thought, "because...." The moment we convince ourselves that the "why" behind the inaction is some kind of bad conduct, in the absence of reasonable, manifest proof, we have likely crossed the line into rash judgment because only God can know motive. " - Te Deum
I know I have forgotten what it means to judge rashly at times, often because I tend to be imprudent.  I did it just the other day in fact. 
I find Diane's post to be a catechesis in the best sense, she relies upon Scripture, the Catechism, Thomas Aquinas, John Hardon and others to help us understand how serious the issue can be.  For instance, these definitions from Fr. Hardon are most helpful:

Unquestioning conviction about another person's bad conduct without adequate grounds for the judgment. The sinfulness of rash judgment lies in the hasty imprudence with which the critical appraisal is made and in the loss of reputation that a peson suffers in the eyes of the one who judges adversely.

Going back to what I said earlier about wisdom being the engine behind prudence, I found Fr. Hardon's explanation of imprudence very fitting to pull out, in part.

Sins against prudence that are either by defect or by excess. Sins by defect against prudence are: rashness, which acts before due consideration has been given; thoughtlessness, which neglects to take the necessary circumstances into account; and negligence, which does not give the mind sufficient time for mature deliberation.
Check out Diane's post here:  Catholics in the Combox.  I know I will be using it for my examination of conscience.
Art:  Illustration for Canterbury Tales


  1. I've been guilty of it.

  2. I have never known you be anything but self effacing Mercury. If anything, I would say you have guilt as a default acknowledgment, which is humble in the sense that it is eager to learn the 'better' way in matters spiritual, but also good to see you starting to differentiate between being blown by every latest condemnation people try to heap upon one and be able to discern and defend truth strongly using maturity and common sense.

    Believe me, your arguments against others attacks of your soul, here, have been discussed thousands of miles away and affirmed as very Catholic and very correct, Christian wise.

    I have made what may be seen, as a rash decision. I am going protestant for a while. I need to stretch my soul in a tambourine-ish style that is spontaneously allowed to praise God as inspired to do so, without threat of being in heresy or going to hell. Soak up he unfailing love of God for a while, a recharge of soul, Hallelujah!!!

    One of the themes of my blog for a while, will be "Looking at catholic bloggers from a biblical protetestant's perspective" which hopes to show catholics how they come across to non-catholics. I have been called un/non/anti catholic a few times so don't anyone complain now! Y'all might love me better as a soul in need of conversion, rather than as your brother in Christ, yeh? You catholics do love sinners, I hope? I mean, how would I know? How would anyone know, just by reading the blogs?

    I believe your Pope called for you all to be evangelists to the world?

    I think he's got a great idea there.

    Comments will be welcomed, especially if they add the odd scriptural reference. The word brother, the word!!

    Sharon Gee will be over later with a mini bus to take people over to the hall (no liquer ofcourse).

  3. Anonymous4:41 AM

    I think you are a good humble person Mercury. I enjoy your posts and respect your views on the faith and the church in general.

  4. I agree with Shadowlands and PH, Mercury. The way you were savaged in the combox was scandalous, but the witness you gave by your moderation was very admirable. I remembered you and your intentions last night at Mass, Chaplet, and Benediction. God's richest blessings and peace to you, brother.

    (BTW -- I think we are in the same diocese. Maybe we'll have a chance to meet, Deo volente.)

  5. I once took Communion in my hand and had to take a good, hard look at myself , do some interior work, when someone, in charity, told me what I was doing. It was a very difficult conversation. I felt judged. How dare someone question how I was loving Christ I thought to myself. I sprang into defensive position and attacked. But when my own hurt feelings subsided, I thankfully realized what transpired.

    The reactions in the conversation yesterday were deja vu.

    I find a post about rash judgments, implying that somebody was judging the state of others souls to be an obstacle to spiritual growth being plunged down the throats of readers. That is not what transpired at all.

    A blog judging Catholics written by a Protestant is a lovely way to avoid rash judgements. We all look forward to your leadership in showing us how to judge the motives of Catholics whicho are bringing other Catholics to a higher understanding of the spiritual world and our religion. Why not call it are you drunk? What religion ae you?

    How sad thus whole episode has been.

  6. I had a rash judgment once - turns out it was eczema.


    Thanks, I'm here all week.

  7. Thanks, Terry for drawing attention to my post.

    I think that we Catholics should hit the pause button with the fingerpointing just long enough to thoroughly study what Scripture, the CCC, the saints, and great theologians have to say about conduct and virtue.

    I was raised in the 70's and have lamented how I was not taught the major truths of the faith. I think a lot of us can relate to that. However, what was also neglected was teaching of the virtues.

    What we have now on the web, I believe, is unchecked zeal. It's visible in comboxes, it's visible in new media, and in social media.

    It's good to boldly proclaim the truth; it's even better to boldly proclaim the truth in harmony with the Gospel, which means paying attention to how we do it.

    If we proclaim the truth in a derisive way it might change a few people; if we look for other ways to boldly proclaim it, without derision, God will bless our efforts.

    In other words, when we rashly judge, and when we use derisive means to spread the Gospel we will not get nearly the graces we will get to win souls for Christ than when we spread it while practicing the virtues.

    First, we have to learn about them, and that means learning about behaviors that can be tempered by practicing them.

    I'm hoping people will read my full post for the many quotes I found. I'm hoping even more, that people will hunt for other quotes. I know there are more out there on rash judgment, I just had to stop because the post was getting long.

    That combox is aimed at building the Body of Christ by the productive things people add which augment what I already have up.

    I have a whole list of topics that will be covered, along with some sidebar discussions. I hope all of you reading will tune in.

    Thanks again Terry!

  8. Anonymous7:28 AM

    Amen to that!

  9. I'd like to know how readers here at Abbey Roads would perceive who was attacked if the conversations had been about Rosary Beads being trampled by foot by people making their way in and out of Church.

    The conversation starts with I just think it's completely out of line when Catholics complain about dancing and wearing pants and trampling on the Rosary.

    Another person comes along and says - hey, wait a minue, trampling on the rosary may not be offensive to you but those of us who really love the rosary, with a devotion to it, it's a serious thing.

    Here's how the reaction to it goes:

    What are you saying, you have achieved some kind of higher level of spirituality than the rest of us?

    Stepping on the rosary isn't a sin.

    Who do you think you are.

    Can you cite something from the Catechism? Nothing in there about stomping on the Rosary. What religion are you. Just who to you think is inspiring you. I'm a protestant and I'm going to sit my butt down and write a blog about how you Catholics come across to loving and devoted people like me.

    Love and God. That's laughable.
    Keeping drinking your booze you rosary loving woman you.

    Why don't you bend over and lick the rosaries on the floor and excommunicate the rest of us who want to walk all over them. (at least Terry had the decency to pull that one down.

    You think you've reached some level of holiness the rest of us haven't or something?

    Are you saying that some Catholics are only devoted to the Rosary - because that isn't our religion.

    We have to wait for the Bishops. If the Bishops don't tell us not to walk all over the rosaries, it isn't a sin.

    Who are you to judge the state of our souls. You are not a soul reader.

    Pious people coming and going trying to show me how holy they are. I know how to fix them.

    Why there isn't a mean bone in our bodies. I'm so glad I didn't have you around when I was becoming a living saint.

    and on and on it went.

  10. ...the maturity and common sense!

    Somewhere, there is a devil dancing.

  11. No, I do not mean I was rash in my reaction to the harsh things being said about others - I mean I was rash in judging the motives of the people I was arguing with. I DID assume they were doing/thinking certain things, when they may not have been, and may have been motivated purely out of love, in fact. It doesn't mean everyone was always wise or charitable or even correct in what they said - and I include myself.

    Shadowlands and the others - thank you, and shadow I totally understand what you are doing at your blog and have laughed out loud at some of your humor (humour) there. Keep it up. :)

    Fr. Frank - I am in the diocese of Baton Rouge, Christ the King Parish, on LSU's campus. What church are you at?

  12. The irony of this all is that I have become convinced that I should receive on the tongue. I had been thinking about it for reasons of greater devotion and tradition, but now it's a matter of fear of mortal sin. Whatever, I can handle sticking my tongue out.

    What I am worried about though is that it will give me a great opportunity to judge my friends and family and other people in Church, and to deal with the problem of worrying about the state of their souls and their standing with God. This will lead to a conversation about it, and if I explain about the particles and they rightfully say, "well, I've always received this way, and the Church allows it, so I do not think it could be in itself sacrilegious if done with a reverent heart," I will begin to wonder if they really care, or if they know what evil they are doing.

    It's this tendency to see sin in everything I or other people do which makes me almost glad my marriage has failed and almost glad that I will not have children.

    From what I have "learned" online, I don't see how I could ever be intimate with my wife without a constant fear of sin, even grave sin (what were my motivations, should we have touched there? Did that go on too long or did we enjoy that too much? Were we trying to have children? Do we abstain enough, like in the Orthodox fasts? Is this the wrong time, place? Can I enjoy looking at her like that?, ad nauseam).

    I'd also constantly be wondering if what she or any daughters I have are modest enough, if they are sinning by wearing a swimsuit, etc. I'd be distraught over all kinds of minutiae I have no real control over, and fear ever "letting my guard down", and God forbid my children ever date and get married! Then I can run the whole program over again, with the added bonus of worrying if they are spiritually deficient because they didn't enter religious life.

    I've learned that one can sin mortally in everything, and I've learned that even my venial sins make me worthy of hell. I've made progress in leaving behind a sinful life, but I've entered into a nightmare.

  13. I have seen little evidence of true rash judgement in the mainstream Catholic blogosphere. In fact, most people go overboard in trying not to judge one's soul. Most articles point out that a certain act is objectively immoral, or that a certain pronouncement is not consistent with Catholic teaching, but rarely do I see "soul judging" going on. I am talking about mainstream Catholic media, not the Brothers Diamond or Marian T. Horvat.

  14. Mercury,

    You need a spiritual director. Find a virtuous priest and do what he tells you.

    The Holy Spirit does not create such disquiet in a soul, but human nature and the Angel of Darkness can bring on a kind of paralysis. This is when it is best to find a good spiritual director and confessor, and place your trust in the Holy Spirit to work through them.

  15. I'll email you contact info at your blog address, if that's ok. Have a blessed day!

  16. Carol,
    You're right, common sense is common sense.

    But rules from bishops are rules from bishops.

    Do what you think is right, others will do what they think is right. How hard is that for you to accept?

    Like Mercury said, no one's going to hell over this.

  17. Mercury,

    It is admirable, especially in light of the good-intentioned people who were trying to hide what was happening under the bushel thinking they were doing the right thing to protect you, that you were able to recognize your reaction came from emotions that were wrongly judging what I was saying and the reasons why I was saying it.

    The concession on taking Communion does not result in the the mortal sin, nor is it even venial sin for the Communicant. The concession is works like a dispensation.

    Like when we can't get to Mass because of a hurricaine and the local Bishop grants a dispensation from Sunday obligation. That does not mean that the act of not going to Mass does not result in spiritual consequences in a more common way because thousands of souls who would have been at the Sacrifice elevating their prayers and offerings did not happen. We miss out on the food for our soul that sustains our gifts, helps us thwart our flaws. We miss out on a that intimacy with Christ. Consequences happen - but it is not sin.

    In the same way, Fr. Frank described what has been happening to devotion to the Eucharist since taking Communion in the hand. Though the sin has been dispensed during this period in history, the consequences are not good. I have described why they are not good for Christ, ad nauseum, but they are also not good for each of us indivually - and to all of us the Body of Christ, though you may not 'see' it happening. This is why many priests who CAN see, are anxious for the order to come down from Rome.

    The reason why those of us are educating Catholics (most priests won't or don't because of the rage we have all just experienced when somebody tries to - also a consequence of the sacrilege) is because in order for Rome to feel it is safe to do so, more of us need to receive that education so they will be willing to accept (hopefully even anxious) those changes without the wrath that brings on the division you just experienced.

    In other words, the dispensation from the sin only relieves us of the temporal punishments. It does not dispense with some of the consequences of the action or inaction. And so we educate, hoping to bring people to practice willingly.

    Your other thoughts are much more than any of us can or should address in a comments box as it belongs in the hands of a good, solid priest. If Opus Dei is in your area, I would encourage you to find out who the priests are -- and contact one of them, ask them to shed the light into the darkness scrupulosity brings. Choose a priest who is faithful because being in a state of grace is critical to their spiritual insight. This will take more than validity of a Sacrament - it will take a priest who sees with eyes of his soul and will spend the time it takes to bring healing.

    The Holy Spirit works in many ways. For sin and pain that is deeply planted, it sometimes requires a jackhammer rather than the feathers and fluff. It is no coincidence that you have opened yourself to the truth in the course of these conversations.

    Let us pray for each other.

    Charlotte - all I can say to you at this moment is, let us agree to disagree on who is having a hard time understanding and accepting.

  18. Dear Carol,

    I believe you are referring to a comment by either Fr. Richard or Fr. Gary, as I didn't weigh in on that. God bless.

    Fr. Frank

  19. I beg your pardon, it was Fr. Richard. Prayers for both of you.

  20. Thanks for all the great comments here, relating to me. Brother Terry often says that it's good to learn from non-praise as much as from praise, so I do indeed value ALL the comments.

    As for taunts around my drinking or otherwise, the devil, when he finishes with the temptation, (after one has picked up) really lets it go crazy with the taunts, so if anyone wants to compete with the stuff he has accused me of,beware, he's in a class of his own. This has a positive effect though, it makes human's insults have little or no power. I can't help what goes on in other people's heads or if they let that out through their fingers whilst typing. Heck brothers and sisters, some of it's probably deserved hahaha!

    PS. I think Diana's posts on her blog about commenting will bear real fruit that will last for all of us.

    I am doing what I need to do, to keep my spiritual state positive. My peace of mind, sobriety, depends on spiritually maintained well-ness. I was getting ill with all this fighting.

    Oh, whoever put the comment encouraging me to get drunk on my blog, that is not good. However much you dislike me, that kind of encouraging is not good for your own soul.

    If you have negative feelings towards me, give them to God, through the Cross, He will give them back to you transformed!!

    And hurry up, I'm having a Gospel dance later. Don't worry about it being protestant, I've invited a Catholic priest to sing and he dances too, I'm an ecumenical protestant!! You lot don't believe me, wait and see!

    Praise God, from whom all good things flow!!

    This seriously feels good, my conversion I mean....I should go Baptist fortnightly!

  21. Carol - the church cannot dispense from sin, nor can it dispense from sacrilege. Therefore, communion in the hand is not in and of itself a sacrilege. That is not an emotional response, but a logical one.

    Someone who receives in the hand does in fact receive the Body and Blood of Christ, and is able to receive just as many graces as someone who receives on the tongue.

    Whether the practice tens to LEAD to loss of faith, irreverence, or sacrilege, is not the same as saying it objectively DOES do that.

    I already have a great spiritual director, though you might hate him because he thinks there is no sin in communion in the hand, though he does think practice can lead and has led to sacrilege - it cannot be sacrilege itself. He would say that he knows too many people who receive in the had who have great Eucharistic devotion. I'm sure his opinion is similar to that of the priest who posted about it, or to Terry's opinion.

    And by the way, particles are lost when you receive on the tongue as well, if the priest it not using a paten (which most do not, so I guess that makes them heretics or not lovers of the Blessed Sacrament).

    And calling attention to shadowlands' alcoholism is simply not right. Do not do that.

  22. I notice when I have confess some grievance I have committed on social media, priests usually sigh and say something like, "Ok...ok..." as if to say that you can't really sin via a blog. I don't think (some) priests fully grasp the power of social media yet.

  23. What I pointed out was shadowlands accusation that I was drinking. No need to apologize though.

  24. Actually Carol, if that is what you were talking about, then there is a need for me to apologise, so sorry.

    What you might not be aware of, is that Terry's combox was opened up as a public bar a few months ago (now you must use your imagination here) so now and again comments are made as if we are all sitting round, like in Cheers, the TV show from the US?

    The atmosphere going on the other day reminded me of the 'bar' (I felt like a 'drink')so when you said you had to go, I tried to pinch your drink, because you hadn't touched it. Anyway, from what I remember, it was a tomatoe juice, so hardly worth concerning ourselves with anyway, yeh?

    I do hope this clarifies things.........

    And seriously, sorry for suggesting you were drinking alcohol. Terry waters it down anyway, so there's nothing over four per cent here. That's why Larry shakes so much, even on on pints.

  25. It's like Utah beer, eh Sarah? :)

  26. Before I comment, I would ask "I am a Protestant" appears quite regularly on this blog.

    Would you please tell me what exactly it is that you, yourself, as a 'Protestant', protest?

    Little Billy jumped off a cliff.

    Little Billy fell off a cliff.

    Two scenarios, same effect.

    Little Billy jumping off a cliff committing suicide can land him in Hell.

    Little Billy falling off a cliff is just the manner in which he died.

    Were he in a state of grace, his chances of Heaven are good.

    It depends on what was in Billy's heart at the time of his actions.

    Jumping to the conclusion rash judgments are always present when someone protests another's comments is a little off base.

    Saint Thomas Aquinas leaves the matter at the condition of the heart.

    We need to remember God does not punish nature, He punishes sin.

    Nature becomes sinful when it is a nature that does not please God.

    The nature to over indulge in alcohol, or constantly harming the souls of others through nagging, or worse, contradicting everything they are told that could edify their souls, the propensity to lasciviousness, are examples of nature that lead to sin.

    Condemning people’s charitable observations as rash judgments is many times not the safe thing to do.

    For your consideration:

    All the Strength of Satan's Reign is due to the easy-going weakness of Catholics.

    The Prophet Zachary asked the Divine Redeemer: What are those wounds in the midst of Thy hands?

    "With these was I wounded in the house of them that loved Me. I was wounded by My friends, who did nothing to defend Me, and who, on every occasion, made themselves the accomplices of My adversaries".

    They were too concerned with being condemned for making rash judgments.


  27. Pablo, you do understand shadowlands is joking, right?

    I guess we all make ourselves accomplices of Christ's adversaries from time to time - including me, including you, including Carol, including Terry, don't we?

    Perhaps we should be unconcerned with rash judgment and do what the folks at TIA say and judge people's souls.

  28. "Would you please tell me what exactly it is that you, yourself, as a 'Protestant', protest?"

    Well, for starters, I didn't feel accepted or loved by certain Catholics, as a Catholic . So, I figured if I turned protestant, you'll all have to love me and spread the love of Christ to me, so that I will see that you worship the true God, because of the love I see you showing to each other. It will make me say to my protestant brothers "See how these Catholics love each other"

    Therefore, I say back to you
    For your consideration:

    "All the Strength of Satan's Reign is due to the easy-going weakness of Catholics."

    Weakness ain't just for drunks.

    The greatest strength Lucifer ever had was destroyed by his own personal weakness.

    God has my alcoholic ego where He needs it, publicly insulted, reprimanded, ignored, counselled with cautions, accused of vileness.

    I rejoice in my saviour, Jesus. He lifted me out of a pit, that even if the world does despise me, His presence felt, even for a moment makes me care not a jot for man's approval.

    It may suprise you all to know, I receive Communion on the tongue, whenever I can. No-one asked me, read my words again, knowing this.

    On blogger lately, I felt the most hate from my own religious brethren. Cold priests becoming legends, not for me, they make me doubt God's love. Loving priests, orthodox quiet men being ridiculed and worse.
    I seek out fellow christians because I am so lonely for the presence of Chrst, in a fellowship of surrendered, rested souls, weak and battling their defects, but trusting in the power of God and encouraging each other, not picking the struggling soul apart and tripping him up with fears he already battles, mostly alone apart from the devil everyone loves to attach to us as soon as we step into a room. (or bar, such as here).

    I bid you well St M, please be kind to Mercury. He is loved by God, very much. Also Thom, I see the love in that man's heart, reaching out with it, to others. He also gets insulted. Now who else used to get treated like that? Aaah yes, I remember.

    I cannot be the type of catholics I see being projected as the norm on blogger. Well, I can, in order to fit in, but I would be being false.

    So hate me, if you will. It's all a choice, all the time, isn't it. Until the choice becomes fixed, and moments of clarity cease. Forever.

  29. That's why Larry shakes so much, even on on pints.

    That pretty much nails it.

  30. "... I didn't feel accepted or loved..."

    That is the root of all your problems.



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