Reader Feedback and a Lesson about Rash Judgment

I appreciate the feedback I get from readers through my CONTACT form (always on the top menu).  It makes my day and keeps me motivated.

I was just a teenager when I started reading your words of wisdom on the Catholic Online Forum.

I’m in my 30s now, and I attribute my orthodoxy and my weekly confession to God’s grace working through you, Father.

Thanks for that.  I became the Wizop of the Catholic Online Form in 1992.  That’s a while ago.  I’ve been in this internet thing for a while.

And now this:

Knowing well that a positive note can be a good thing for the soul, I just wanted to write a message to thank you for continually helping me (and I presume many others) to “man up” and be courageous in these dark days. Being depressive enough by nature, I feel that I can privately end up whining instead of clinging closer to Christ. Some of your recent posts these past few weeks have stiffened up my spine in a good way.

We have to bolster each other and encourage each other in these seriously confusing and worrisome days in the Church.  It seems as if every day we wake up to some new piece of weirdness in the news.

And speaking of encouragement…

Just a quick note to say thank you very much. I went to confession today after quite a time, encouraged by your recent post regarding the Enemy and fathers of a family (myself being one of them). Thank you, dear Father. Thank you very much.

You are welcome!  Everyone…


And now an example of example of the worst sort of feedback.  This is a useful lesson in how NOT to write… to anyone.

This was sent with a masked identity. I usually dismiss the anonymous stuff as worthless and often don’t read them at all.  Of course, if they contain threats that’s another matter.  Folks, if you can’t put your name to it, don’t send it.  Anyway, this came after I posted a video which imitated the opening credits of the TV show Game Of Thrones and showed Rome “unfolding” itself.  HERE  Rather cool.

Watching Game of Thrones is mortally sinful. Anyone who watches that show without confessing it will not go to Heaven. I’m deeply, DEEPLY ashamed of you.

First, I repeat: this is a coward.

Second, this is called “rash judgment” and it is a sin against the 8th Commandment.

The censorious accusation was based on … let’s be inclusive without being rash… her leaping to the conclusion that I watch the show.

However, I never said that I watch it or indicated that I do or suggested that I do.  I merely said that just about everybody in the cosmos does watch it.

You would have to be really tuned out not to know that there is a show called Game of Thrones.  There are books, too.  I haven’t read them.  But I digress.

Rash judgment is a pernicious sin, especially if it is habitual.  To assume bad things about people in an unfounded way is bad enough. To express the rash judgment outwardly is even worse.

Fr. John Hardon (whose Catholic Catechism I used in my own conversion path – see the side bar) wrote:

Rash Judgment is unquestioning conviction about another person’s bad conduct without adequate grounds for the judgment. The sinfulness of rash judgment lies in the hasty imprudence with which the critical appraisal is made, and in the loss of reputation that a person suffers in the eyes of the one who judges adversely.

People have the right to a good reputation.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says:

2477 Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury. He becomes guilty:

– of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor;

– of detraction who, without objectively valid reason, discloses another’s faults and failings to persons who did not know them;

– of calumny who, by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them.

2478 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. [NB] 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, [all things being equal] let the Christian try all suitable ways to bring the other to a correct interpretation so that he may be saved.

So, friends, don’t commit the sin of rash judgment and be careful what you say about other people.

Also, remember that it is not always your place to correct a person who errs.  The principles of fraternal correction apply.

In any event, I pay attention to most feedback.

I haven’t had any voicemail recently.  I listen to your voicemails: I don’t call back, but I listen. 

You have three voicemail options (always on the sidebar):
 020 8133 4535

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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