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Please bear with me for just a moment. In a season of expectant wonder, it is a little sad that I must open this introduction to Pope Francis’ latest Apostolic Letter with something of a lament. Increasing numbers of readers are telling me that nobody any longer wishes to hear from Pope Francis. I sympathize with the frustration created by this pope’s rather obvious deficiencies, but I also know it is wrong to forget that God set Francis over us for His own good reasons. It is precisely in the midst of our likes and dislikes, and even our moral judgments in various situations, that we are called to take every pontificate seriously, and to discern and apply what we can use to grow in faith and closeness to Christ.
The spiritual judgment required to discern good and evil is important to each of us, and must be continuously exercised for our own good, but that is quite different from the kind of personal judgment that we are all too prone to pass on others, the kind of judgment that makes us close our ears, often merely to protect our “comfort zone”, and often leading to harsh condemnations. Christ warned us repeatedly against these sorts of personal judgments; reread, for example, Mt 7:1-5 and Lk 6:37-42. It is just this sort of judgment which leads us to reject out of hand the witness of others, especially our pastors.
St - Paul - Letter - Romans - Judgment
St. Paul had it right when he wrote in his Letter to the Romans, “Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Master is able to make him stand” (Rom 14:4), and again, “We know that in everything God works for good with...
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