Friday, August 31, 2012

Fr. Benedict Groeschel demonstrates why as a Catholic I cut people slack

Because you find out by perusing the news that a well respected and well liked member of the Catholic Clergy has come out and suggested that abuse victims might sometimes be the seducers.  Well, you can imagine what this will look like to half of the Catholics in the world, and just about everyone else.

Me?  Given his age, I'm willing to cut him some slack.  I also realize he simply may be trying to examine the complexities of the topic at hand, rather than following the post-modern tendency of wanting to reduce all topics of discussion to a Tweet.  But that's me.  Unless a person makes it clear he stands for evil, or she celebrates that which is ungodly, I'm willing to allow for more than a few second chances. I'm certainly not going to take the witness of a friend, relative, or third cousin twice removed that this or that person is a filthy, rotten person.  Nor am I going to limit this to folks I like.  I'll even go so far as to avoid assuming all lawyers, politicians or car salesmen are liars.  I'll try to assume the best take on what people say, and give them a second chance when they may have spoken wrong.

Why?  Because there is no optional section in the Catechism.  Sometimes if you buy a game, there will be an 'optional section.'  This is for extra rules that might make the game more challenging, but you need not use them.  There isn't a section in the Catechism that says 'optional rules.'  So when you see Catholics arguing that the Catechism clearly says lying is wrong, or abortion is wrong, or we should help the widow and the orphan, look a little closer and you will notice this section in the non-optional teachings part:

"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."
You see that?  It looks like a good teaching to live by. I know that in the world of talk shows, talk radio, cable news, and the Internet, it isn't as fun.  But still, I think it works, even when it doesn't help us win an argument or make those other people over there look bad.  Because after all, some day it might be someone in our own little circle of 'people I think are cool and hip' who puts foot in mouth or says something that could be used against him (and us). 

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