Judgment and Punishment

Papa FrancescoI tend to try to stay out of contemporary “political” struggles in the Church. But on some of these things that people debate over and over again, I do have an opinion. Pope Francis seems to ruffle people’s feathers when he says, “Who am I to judge?” Then there will ensue the battle about whether we are to judge, whether we can judge actions, whether we can judge hearts, and so on.

Well, all of that is well and good. It brings us back to the Gospel, and provided that we are not trying to win the argument, but rather listen to the Gospel, we will have gained.

But I find most contemporaries arguments run in circles. People rehash the same things over and over again. To break the circle of “We can judge actions, ” “We cannot judge,” “We must have some order in the Church,” “We must show mercy,” and so on, I’m often reminded of Saint Anthony of Padua, Doctor of the Church and earlier Franciscan. He says in one of his sermons:

antonio3God’s compassion embraces and includes all, extending itself even to the confines of Hell where his mercy prevents him from punishing sin to the extent that it deserves to be punished.

And that sort of settles the issue for me. If God will not even punish to the fullest extent the demons in Hell, then what are my good options again?


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