Monday, May 9, 2016
Pope Francis and the joy of judging
Topics like Man Made Global Warming, abuses of Capitalism, the failures of the Western Democracies, those who hold varying opinions on immigration or simply those Catholics, never clearly defined but often referenced, who fall short of the ideal and are blameworthy for the problems in the Church as well as the world. Against these things, Pope Francis hurls judgement after judgement, often taking the worst possible interpretations of the events, and doing so with a passion and zeal that wouldn't disgrace a KJV only fundamentalist Baptist preacher in a tent revival.
So when speaking to his vision of a beautified Europe, he suggested that those countries not entirely embracing the immigration crisis as he expects them to were doing so for 'quick and easy short term political gains.' If you think about it, that's pretty tough. It's not just saying they're wrong. It's saying they're wrong because of their wicked, evil ways and purposes. That there could be other concerns or legitimate differences isn't open for debate. Just like his willingness to accept the idea that opposition to MMGW is the result of corrupt researchers at the behest of evil corporate conspiracies. I've noticed he does that sometimes. Not only does he says X is wrong, but he goes on to suggest those who are guilty are not just wrong, but wrong because of some ulterior motive or bad purpose.
Now there is precedent for this. The Bible itself hold no brief for those outside of the will of God, and is often quite happy to ascribe to the offenders the worst motives. So contrary to modern spins on Judas for instance, in the Scriptures Judas is not just a fellow who falls away from the purer faith, he's a greedy, miserly fellow who wiggles his way into the role of treasurer just to pinch some extra coins into his pocket. Or take the book of James. Why are there quarrels among believers? Why, because of the desires that battle within them. Not just disagreements, is't the essence of spiritual warfare that is to blame.
Of course we can pardon Scripture since it is the word of God. But what of others? Space doesn't permit referencing all the times in which Christian leaders, Church Fathers, saints and others throughout the ages didn't only judge, but judged harshly those they were against. As some on the Catholic blogosphere pointed out over the years, judging, calling names, and even accusing motives is a time honored approach to defending the Gospel of Christ. The Gospel is, after all, the Truth against which our very salvation is measured, and sometimes some butt-kicking is needed.
So is there anything wrong with Pope Francis doing this? No. This isn't to say he's right about the topics at hand. I'm not saying I agree with his conclusions. I'm saying that this level of judging is merely a time-honored way of Christians defending the faith, the widow and orphan, and those who would defend the Truth against error both deliberate and accidental. So it's time to reclaim the joy of judging - when rightly done - as well as perhaps a few other practices that have fallen under the treads of the Leftist assault tanks.
For instance, for too many decades Christians let a post-Christian paganism demand Christians stop converting others so that it could convert Christians. For too long, Christians allowed a secularized, hedonist society insist there were no absolute morals to be hoisted on others, only to watch those same secularists hoist their morals on the Faithful with a zeal that would embarrass Joe McCarthy. And for too many generations, Christians were told to stop judging, that judging is wrong and evil and the cause of all suffering in the world, and that despite the Left's well documented track record of judging anything and anyone in its way, Christians should sit down, shut up and accept everything since judging is so wrong.
Clearly, they don't think so. Clearly the Left, the Right, Catholics and non-Catholics all agree: Judging and doing so with the gloves off is one of the most awesome things you can do. Judging is, for the lack of a better word, good. Judging is right. Judging works. Judging clarifies, cuts through and captures the essence of the modern spirit. That must be true, since so many in the Church and across our liberal society cheer when Pope Francis, or anyone else, says such things about opponents MMGW, or failing to open borders to immigrants, or any one of a hundred things near and dear to their hearts. It turns out, despite years of hearing that we shouldn't judge because judging is so bad, that judging is and always has been something of which we gladly approve.
Just like the old argument that people don't like to be 'preached to'. They said that when I was in seminary. But I noticed something. People often love to be preached to, as long as it is by someone they agree with who is saying things they want said. In those cases, they love preaching more than most preachers. What they usually mean is they don't want someone saying they are wrong. And for too long, Christians accepted these and similar premises.
So it's time to embrace the conversion of others. It's time to celebrate the condemnation of untruth and error based on strong, moral absolutes. It's time to preach the word with passion and zeal. And for heaven's sake, it's time to stand up and judge, honestly and with humility, but even brutally, the evils, errors, failures and multitudinous disasters that have been visited on the world by the modern way. After all, as we watch Pope Francis do the same on behalf of so many issues considered left of center, and see the smiles and their thumbs up from those who support his endeavors, we can be assured that when it comes to judging others, there are few who love seeing it happen more than those who have said for decades that we should never judge. After all, they're the ones who have been judging judging for decades, and that should have been clue enough.