How to treat sinners

A quote via Good Jesuit Bad Jesuit from St. Ignatius of Loyola which reminds me of how imperfect I am in charity.

“Treat sinners as a good mother treats her child when sick; she bestows on him many more caresses than when he is in good health”

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. FXR2 says:

    Father Z,
    I wonder how a good mother would caress her child as he continued to pack feces in an open wound.
    Speaking the truth in charity, in an attempt to save ones immortal soul, is the necessary component to love. The message must be the same. The art of saying “NO” in sweet manner so that no one doubts your intention, or in a provocative manner to attract is part of the art.

    mho fwiw,


  2. SGCOLC says:

    FXR2 I think we over-analyze charity too much, usually resulting in minimizing our obligation. St. Ignatius was right, and Fr. Z, thanks for posting this. It helped to mend a rift with my wife!

  3. AgnesVM says:

    Thank you for this quote, Father. I linked it on Facebook.

    Have you ever read Fr Faber? In his Spiritual Conferences he has a long, wonderful section on kindness — Kindness in General, Kind Thoughts, Kind Words, Kind Actions. I highly recommend it.

    The book is available on Google Books for free.

  4. Luke Whittaker says:

    FXR2: We show them love who struggle therein so that they might better reciprocate. There is nothing wrong with honesty so las as we speak the truth in charity FOR the sinner and not against them. Ephesians 6:4 comes to mind, “And fathers [mothers], don’t cause your children to resent you; instead, raise them by instructing and admonishing them as the Lord would.”

  5. benedetta says:

    Luke whittaker, yes, lovely quotation. It leads us quite nicely back to brave Bishop Aquila’s words doesn’t it. What is your parenting style?

  6. Luke Whittaker says:

    benedetta: Do you realize that your words are inflammatory? I will not engage in a word battle with you because we fail to disagree more graciously. But I do forgive you.

  7. justinmartyr says:

    Pardon me, but did someone forget to hit the sarcasm key? How can such a lovely post have generated such bizarre replies?

  8. Luke Whittaker says:

    justinmartyr: There is no sarcasm in what I said. I was merely responding to a question with undertones from a previous conversation that was directed at me.

  9. benedetta says:

    Luke Whittaker, I was extending kindness to you. I have no inflammatory intentions whatsoever. I intend peace with you. What in particular leads to your worry/anxieties? Did you not say on another post that you suffer from the difficulty of scrupulosity? I do not suffer from this myself however from what I understand for people who do it can be hard.

    At any rate you (was it that military leader you quoted on the other thread who refuses to engage in any dialogue with ‘the enemy’ whatsoever?) seem to disagree that Bishop Aquila is a very courageous Bishop and deserves the support of all the faithful. Or perhaps you haven’t settled on a parenting style yet, that’s ok but why do you fear open dialogue with others. I told you before I harbor, zero anger towards you but you seem to hold a grudge. That’s ok, plenty do and I understand it can be hard. But I intended peace.


  10. benedetta says:

    Also just wanted to say for numerous reasons, the name of Luke is one so very close to my heart. It would not be exaggeration to say at all that the prodigious gifts of the great St. Luke himself really help to support the graces that have come to me in the midst of trials that most people could simply not bear to endure. I attribute the fact that I am cheerful, good humored, and quite contented in the midst of an unbelievable trial, look to see the good in all, to the presence of God and the great blessings bestowed on all humanity by His Holy Name. I have discovered a truth and reality that so many others have found and have recorded which most of us in our lifetimes as believers only take for granted as being true.

    So I speak of God’s great goodness and I recognize with the holy faith that beauty of the Church’s voice and witness to the sanctity and sacredness, goodness of all created life! I know that many prolifers must sacrifice in all sorts of ways for this truth, but how beautiful and worthwhile it is.

  11. benedetta says:

    Also Luke Whittaker curious you would call it a “previous conversation”. That is a little bit of window dressing, don’t you think? Go back and read and tell all of your role and whether it was truly a “dialogue” or not. You refused to acknowledge many comments in the conversation, you changed the subject to off topic and weird things several times, you declared the conversation “over” before others had finished speaking, and then never replied to any of the substantive points after trashing people personally. Which we did not do. And are still not doing. You sort of want to paint a picture that makes some sort of sense to you but which is not really how it went down, did not happen, and anyone can take a look and make up their own minds, by all means, don’t take my word for it.

    But since you brought up admonishment in love from Ephesians, well, do we invest meaning as brothers and sisters or do we not. What shall we make of it? Shall we curse out others and run away. No one would concur that this amounts to a dialogue. Now if you would like to have a dialogue we are enabled, always. That’s not going to stop. My sense is that parenting is a fascinating topic and that Bishop Aquila’s witness is consistent with your quotation from Ephesias. What about my complement for this Bishop leads to your judgment of inflammatory? Peace to you.

    Of course there is that other pesky little quotation others would be more qualified to weigh in on than one such as me (with all the angry things you have said about me): “I have come to bring fire upon the world and how I wish…” Now was that inflammatory. Or not. “Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful and enkindle in us the fire of Your Love”…

  12. benedetta says:

    Finally wanted to add that I so appreciate the compassion shown to me by commenters here and in other places who have been informed as to what is happening in my life as of late. Over the years I have been privileged to know so many great priests, brothers, nuns and laity in various capacities, and the respect and patience they have extended to me, even as some know what is going on and some do not, I recognize their goodness. We may not always see eye to eye on every detail of the politics however in the essentials I know well who they represent and nothing can take away from that and the truth of that. Their hearts were always in the right place. People may have conversations and disagree in dialogue but the respect and compassion they show toward others speaks the truth about who they are and what they are about. I know that if/when they are informed as to the details of what is happening to me they would be totally supportive. It is an error to bargain against that. The Church is united, and even people who have disagreements about what’s to be done in the crisis the Church finds herself in today would never engage in criminality, that’s abundantly clear. Live and let live is by far the better way.

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