Judging others is something we are all guilty of. However, the important thing is reconciliation. Christ favored reconciliation above all else that he told his disciples to leave their gifts at the altar and go first to reconcile with their brothers (Matthew 5:23-24). Christ instituted the sacrament of reconciliation because He knew that we would fall into sin. The first step to reconciliation is to recognize our sins. As we continue our walk, it gets easier to recognize when we have judged others. Before, we could not differentiate the difference between our personal opinions and an unfair judgement against a person.
Let us take, for example, some of the people who run late for the celebration of the Word and preparation in the NCW communities. Speaking from experience, even a small thing as tardiness can get some impatient people so frustrated to the point of making judgments against them. Of course, these are small judgments....... but personal judgments, nonetheless.
A personal opinion would be "there is no excuse for anyone being late for preparation." This is a personal opinion. It is definitely not a factual statement because some can cite valid excuses for being late. Also, the statement does not specifically target the latecomers by name because it is addressed to everyone.
An unfair judgment against a person would be "Jane does not care that she is always late. If she did care about us, she would be on time." This is a judgment against Jane because the person is saying that Jane is inconsiderate and uncaring. The statement attacks the person's character rather than the tardiness. When we unfairly judge a brother or sister, we personally ask his/her forgiveness so that we can be reconciled with them. This is the Christian thing to do.
Both the picketers and Archbishop Hon made the mistake of judging Archbishop Apuron without due process of the law. What would Christ have done as the Good Shepherd? He would teach the picketers and Archbishop Hon not to judge others. How do we know that He would do this? Because that is what He taught His disciples (Matthew 7:1-2).
Unfortunately, rather than teaching the sheep not to judge, Archbishop Hon followed in their footsteps as he went to Rome to convince the Pope to remove Archbishop Apuron's title and appoint someone else to take his place. Archbishop Hon was so focused on removing Archbishop Apuron that he was blind to see what the jungle was actually doing behind his back as they worked to lift the statutes of limitations in the Guam Legislature. Apparently, he only learned about the bill when he was in Rome. And it was already too late when he issued a message from Rome to the Guam clergy to oppose the legislation. The bill had already passed.
Pope Francis, on the other hand, taught that we are to pray for others instead of judging them. According to Vatican Radio:
Pray for others instead of judging them
We see that the Lord gets "a little 'get angry here," said the Pope. He calls us hypocrites when we put ourselves "in God's place." This, he added, is what the serpent persuaded Adam and Eve to do: "If you eat this, you'll be like Him." They, he stressed, "wanted to take the place of God.":
"For this, being judgmental is very ugly. Judgment belongs only to God, to Him alone!" the Pope exclaimed. It is for us to "love," to "understand, to pray for others when we see things that are not good" said the Pope, inviting us to talk kindly to others so that they may learn from their mistakes: "But never judge. Never. And this is hypocrisy, if we judge."Why is it hypocrisy? Because we have all made judgments against others. All have sinned. Priests and bishops are not immune to judging others. According to the Pacific Daily News:
Archbishop Michael Jude Byrnes said Thursday he doesn't think Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron will ever be able to successfully return to Guam as the leader of the church.
"I think it would be a disaster if Archbishop Apuron were to return as bishop of record," Byrnes said during a news conference Thursday.
"That's my opinion, my estimation. It's based on nothing that I heard of from Rome but sincerely from my own experience," Byrnes said.The above is not a personal opinion. It was a judgment by a Bishop against a brother Bishop. There was a time when I had also judged the Apostle Peter of being an unfit leader (see my post here). If I had a choice, I would have picked the Apostle John to be the leader. Why? Because Peter denied Christ three times and John was at the foot of the cross when Christ was dying. John was there beside Christ as He died and Peter was nowhere. However, it was Peter whom God chose to be the Vicar of Christ. It was God who saw that Peter was fit enough to be the leader of the Church, and who am I to question God's judgment and choice?
Archbishop Apuron has family, friends, relatives, and many supporters on Guam. This judgment does not sit well with his family, friends, relatives and supporters. The year of reparation started out with a judgement, and judgments do not bring healing and reparation to the Church. It does not bring reconciliation.