By Fr. Tom Collins
There are several major problems with this mantra. First of all, it makes the mistake of identifying judgment with condemnation. Note that in the account of the woman caught in adultery (Jn 8:1-11), although Jesus does not condemn the woman, He does judge the evil of her sin by commanding her to sin no more. Although only God can probe and know the depths of a person's soul and the degree of that person's culpability for a particular sin, the reality is that sin is objectively evil. And, aside from having a detrimental impact on one's environment and relationships, it perverts both one's perspective and one's character in subtle but definitive ways. Thus it is an act of mercy to admonish the sinner so as to open the way for him to receive the grace of a life-giving repentance.
The second problem with the "Who am I to judge?" mantra is that it is reminiscent of the attitude of Cain, when he asked, "Am I my brother's keeper?" (Gen 4:9). Cain was saying that we have no responsibility to monitor each other's conduct or condition. In effect, each of us is merely a moral monad and so each of us should just mind our own business. This opens the way for a denial of Church's moral authority. For, if we are not permitted to invade another's private space by judging the objective evil of his sin (since he may choose to see such a judgment as being "judgmental"), how is it that we can condemn human trafficking, debt slavery, oppressive working conditions, genocide,
sacrilege, domestic violence, etc.? After all, we cannot fully know either the spiritual condition or all the motives of each person engaged in such acts. So, since condemning such sins may lead some of those engaged in such sins to feel bad about themselves, the philosophy of the "Who am I to judge?" mantra would lead us to avoid hurting their feelings by not holding them accountable for their actions or their consequences.
The third problem with the "Who am I to judge?" mantra is it leads into the acceptance of another mantra proclaimed by the Culture of Desecration and Death - "Tolerance!". This is problematic in a rather insidious way, since it tends to dethrone the sacred mystery of love, revealed to us most perfectly in the Person, life, ministry and teachings of Jesus Christ. Thus, His New Commandment, "Love one another, as I have loved you," (Jn 15:12), is to be abrogated by a New Mantra, "Tolerate one another, as I have tolerated you."To give an example, would healthy human relationships be better fostered by telling someone, "I tolerate you," or by telling him, "I respect you."? This is compounded by the mentality that we are to renounce the teachings of Christ, so as to embrace religious and racial "tolerance". Whereas Jesus taught us to respect and reverence people of different
racial, religious and cultural backgrounds, the Culture of Desecration and Death asserts that
the ideal we should seek is one, in which we merely need to tolerate them. As a result, with
the standard for authentically human relationships degraded from a creative and compassionate
respect to the level of mere tolerance, whereby we are to merely suppress our festering and ever-metastasizing resentments, we build our civilization on a rather dangerous foundation. And it would not be difficult for some small event to trigger the next wave of genocide or persecution, as the resentments suppressed by "tolerance" start to erupt in hideous ways. "
Sad to say, though, in the tragic condition of sinful humanity, catchy mantra's, such as "Who am I to judge?" and "Tolerance!" can easily be used to eclipse the light of truth and thus draw souls into the frustrations and fears, which the purveyors of perversions and addictions are more than willing to exploit. Let us pray that, by the gracious ministry of the Holy Spirit, the Church may come to clearly and consistently shine the light of God's love and truth on all dimensions of our shared humanity. Only in this way will the true God-given beauty of our humanity be able to come to full fruition both here and hereafter.