“To label a priest “non-judgmental” is damning.” He is incapable of thinking clearly, affirms people in moral errors

At The Catholic Thing Fr. Jerry Pokorsky has a good piece about being non-judgmental, particularly about non-judgmental priests.  I think we have all met that sort, right?  These pathetic, flexi-spined cowards who would be, were Dante in charge, consigned to chase the pointless ever-whirling banner on the empty plain, pursued by stinging flies, treading upon hideous worms.

Two snips:

Non-Judgmental Shepherds


Someone recently told me about a Catholic religion teacher who was called by a concerned parent. The teacher was presenting the Catholic faith in a methodical fashion. An upcoming topic was to be love and marriage. The parent wanted assurances that his young daughter would not be taught that the lesbian lifestyle of her older sister is immoral.

If the younger sister came home with a crisp understanding of Christian marriage, she would become hopelessly “judgmental” – a truly horrible person – at least in Dad’s judgment. And she might even find herself denied entry to one or more colleges on the basis of her “intolerance.” You see, believing and living the Catholic faith is “judgmental” and it ruins education – and careers.


Increasingly the non-judgmental “ideal” is used to silence the proclamation of the Gospel, betraying the diabolical root of the term. When a person is described as “non-judgmental” the term may evoke an attribute of kindness in general. Such a person “affirms people where they are at” regardless of behavior.

But below the surface of a so-called “non-judgmental” person are indulgence and apathy, an inability to see evil, personal narcissism, the pathological desire to be liked, going along to get along, as long as everyone is comfortable. This is why there are so many “non-judgmental” priests, despite the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent by the People of God on each of them during their seminary education, an education that should have included solid courses on logic and Catholic moral theology. To describe Jesus Himself as “non-judgmental” is not only inaccurate, it is exceedingly shallow and insulting.

Similarly, to label a priest “non-judgmental” is damning. It means he is incapable of thinking clearly, affirms his people in their moral errors, and doesn’t take stands opposing the new morality of polite secular opinion. It means he doesn’t have the courage to warn his people against the danger of mortal sin and the fires of Hell.


Making judgments doesn’t mean being a jerk.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    He’s my pastor!…and a good, GOOD man….a solid, orthodox, ‘judgmental’ (Deo gratias!) priest.

    Please Lord, may we have countless more in his mold!

  2. Rich says:

    Being non-judgmental as a priest also makes his job easy. It’s the path of least resistance.

  3. clarinetist04 says:

    Fr. Pokorsky is a good, holy priest whom I should pray more for. He’s the pastor at my father’s parish and I rarely hear a priest talk with such fervor and clarity on controversial topics as him. He’s in the Washington, DC area (Diocese of Arlington), no stranger to political correctness and “non-judgmental”-ness.

  4. Monica says:

    I’m so glad to see you link to Father P’s article! He is my parish’s pastor, and I couldn’t say enough good things about him. Orthodox, intelligent, and an especially excellent confessor, Father Pokorsky has celebrated the TLM here for years. It’s great to have the chance to express gratitude for his priestly ministry in such a widely-read forum!

  5. Absit invidia says:

    I’ve noticed with alarm, the number of millenials becoming increasingly haughty in their attacks against anyone differing from their opinions – the predictable popular trendy opinions at that. Anybody who resists the latest jetsetting trend is “judgmental” and I’m noticing that it is becoming increasingly very, very easy to be labeled “judgmental” now. If its over an opinion about a high profile shooting, a high profile riot, defining when life begins, etc. etc. depending on how you land in their eyes, determines your “judgmentalness.”

    If you disagree with somebody’s immoral behavior at a bus stop, bam! – you’re judgmental. Heck, even if you speak out against the president now, bam! – you’re judgmental. Even Jimmy Carter joined in on throwing down the race card if anybody questioned the president.

    So it is really disturbing that our moral leaders are falling into this trap of avoiding the label. Millennials or any other entity pushing this new “judgmental” accusation will never be satisfied with a leader or anybody with a differing opinion, backtrack or concede to their hypocritical accusation. They will continue pushing and pushing the guilt trip until people systematically see their faith unravel and ultimately destroy any vestige of morality – and any vestige of the Catholic Faith until they’ve guilted the planet into their line of thinking.

    If we’re not resisting and actively practicing our Faith with confidence and manliness, then we are falling into their trap. If we are not practicing the Truth, we are falling further and further into the darkness of the zeitgeist. Millennials enjoy bringing up the Inquisition and the “judgmental” label – when in fact THEY are the ones practicing an Inquisition and judgmentalism of their own.

  6. Andrew says:

    Martialis, Lib. XII: 80:
    Ne laudet dignos, laudat Callistratus omnes.
    Cui malus est nemo, quis bonus esse potest?

  7. gretta says:

    I just don’t get it. If you don’t want your child to get a Catholic education, don’t send them to Catholic School. And…if you send them to Catholic School, don’t complain when they get a Catholic education.

  8. Christ_opher says:

    Gretta, Brilliant!

  9. albizzi says:

    My wife says I am judgemental because I am prone to discern the good from the wrong behaviours according to what I had been taught in catechism (before VAT2 of course).
    Every time we disagree, I settle the issue with: “OK, let’s talk about this with Fr Lucchesi (our parish priest) and you will understand that I am right.”
    Then she says that only the priests can judge, not the lay people. Then where is our duty of fraternal correction?

  10. Healingrose1202 says:

    As a parent, I feel a overwhelming responsibility and a fear of leading anyone into a lukewarm faith or to no faith at all. To be lukewarm is to be spit out. If we fear judgement, then also do we not fear our conscience? Is not our conscience our guide for personal judgement? Is not our conscience our guide to repentance? Without repentance, there is no mercy and no salvation. To only have a conscience when it is convenient is like only judging our own actions against those of the world and not God’s word. What a slippery slope compromise can be when it comes to sin. We are so desensitized to sin that we become overly sensitive to righteous judgement. A hardened heart or a lukewarm heart is in very serious danger! Shame on any who are put in a position of leadership and would lead any astray!

  11. catholictrad says:

    A “non-judgmental” priest is sure to find himself in the deepest cinders of hell as he is guiding souls away from God, the highest judge. It would definitely be uncomfortable, but I’d rather have the famous Saint Padre Pio read my soul and angrily judge me guilty in the confessional rather than wait for the Eternal Judge of souls to cast me out with the goats.

    Reading the note above remind me of the time I spent attempting to teach Religious Education to 13 year olds. The most difficult time each year was taking them to confession. The week before, we would discuss what the Church has determined is “mortal sin” and therefore must be confessed and avoided. Reactions ran from shock because they had never been taught, to complete disdain and disbelief at my horrible “judgmentally-ness”. Angry parents came with priest in tow to chew me out, but to their horror, the priest backed the truth and the kids disappeared.

    I was brought to tears by one kid who actually wanted to be Catholic and didn’t know he was mired in sin. Here’s praying he becomes a priest because he was a very rare bird in those classes.

  12. tcreek says:

    In one of her letters, Flannery O’Connor wrote the following words which seem to reflect the views of my current pastor rather than those of Fr. Jerry Pokorsky:

    “The Liberal approach is that man has never fallen, never incurred guilt, and is ultimately perfectible by his own unaided efforts. Therefore, evil in this light is a problem of better housing, sanitation, health, etc., and all mysteries will eventually be cleared up. Judgment is out of place because man is not responsible.”

  13. Mike says:

    The Church needs more holy shepherds like Fr. Pokorsky who don’t let chimeras like “global warming” distract them or their flocks from the danger of eternal burning.

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