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Is it judgmental to point out someone’s error?

Full Question

In a discussion with a non-Catholic, I pointed out that his beliefs were incorrect or unfounded according to Catholic Church teaching. He accused me of being judgmental. But failure or refusal to accept the truth could have eternal consequences. What constitutes being judgmental?

Answer

First, pointing out the truth is not judgmental. Here are a few more examples of what does not constitute being judgmental:

  • It is not judgmental to make a moral appraisal of whether a person’s actions are sinful or whether the person is likely culpable for them.
  • It is not judgmental to have a negative emotional reaction to what is objectively evil.
  • It is not judgmental to bear in mind that a person you have forgiven has committed harmful actions in the past and may commit them again in the future.

One way to avoid being judgmental is to avoid making rash judgments.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:

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" (CCC 2478, cf. St. Ignatius, Spiritual Exercises 22).

 










2 comments

  1. Christian Reply

    You can not do rash judgment with a solid evident and love, love is the key of everything. If you can see in the before numeral how can you act about a judgment. I put some verse of the bible. You can judge the action but not the person.

    1 Corinthians 2:15 – The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one.

    2477 Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury.278 He becomes guilty:

    John 7:24 – Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.

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

    Exodus 23:1 – You shall not circulate a false report. Do not put your hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness. No matter who originates the accusation, we should not repeat and spread it unless we have substantial evidence it is true.

    – of detraction who, without objectively valid reason, discloses another’s faults and failings to persons who did not know them;279

    Sirach 21:28 A gossip ruins his own character, and everyone in the neighborhood hates him.

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

    Exodus 23:1-2 Don’t link up with a wicked person and give corrupt testimony. Don’t go along with the crowd in doing evil and don’t fudge your testimony in a case just to please the crowd. And just because someone is poor, don’t show favoritism in a dispute.

  2. Christian Reply

    If it is a mistake, you can tell what is wrong and right with the scriptures. Amen

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