Monday, July 24, 2017

Deacon Richard Tatro's dishonest homily...

This past Saturday, during the 4:30 Vigil Mass at Holy Cross Church in Templeton, Massachusetts, Deacon Richard Tatro assaulted parishioners with his distorted theology and his fundamentalist interpretation of Jesus's command to "judge not" (Matthew 7:1-5).

Deacon Tatro cited the unfair criticism of the Cure of Ars, Saint John Vianney, with regard to his academic difficulties, specifically his problem absorbing Latin.

Here the criticism, the negative judgements, were obviously unjust.  For though Saint Vianney was not academically gifted, his holiness of life and his wisdom shined brightly for all to see (save for those "scholars" who were his contemporaries).  But does it follow that all judgements are therefore sinful or illicit?

Of course not.  Which is what makes Tatro's homily so insidious.

Catholics of Tatro's stripe apparently believe that love of enemies means condoning vice and sin. In the words of Dr. Germain Grisez, one of the finest moral theologians of our time, "It might seem to follow that love must accept everyone, even enemies, just as they are, and to affirm them even in the error or sin which is present in them. But the law of lovedoes not require indiscriminate affirmation of everything about other persons (see Saint Thomas Aquinas, S.t., 2-2, q.34, a.3). One's love must be like Jesus'. He loves sinners and brings them into communion with himself in order to overcome their error and sin. When the scribes and pharisees bring a woman caught in adultery to Jesus, he not only saves her from being stoned to death but warns her not to sin again (see John 8:3-11). In a true sense, Jesus is not judgmental, he sets aside the legalistic mentality, readily forgives sinners, does not condemn the world, and points out that those who refuse to acknowledge their sinfulness are self-condemned by the truth they violate (see John 3:16-21). But he realistically recognizes sinners as sinners and never accepts error as truth...Similarly, if Christians' love of neighbor is genuine, it not only permits but REQUIRES THEM both to 'hold fast to what is good' and to 'hate what is evil' (Romans 12:9)."

And again, according to Dr. Grisez, "Vatican II neatly formulates the prohibition against judging others" 'God alone is the judge and searcher of hearts; for that reason, he forbids us to make judgments about the internal guilt of anyone' (Gaudium et Spes, No. 28). This norm, however, does not preclude JUDGMENTS necessary for determining that one should try to dissuade others from committing sins or to encourage them to repent if they have sinned."

Poorly instructed Catholics are often heard to remark "I don't like the word 'judge,' or to those of us who defend the Church's authentic Magisterial teaching while exposing error they will say: "You're judging."

What if we are? Judging isn't always sinful. It is only sinful when we judge another's interior dispositions, when we judge their soul. But we are entirely free to judge words, ideas and actions which fail to hold up when placed in the Lumen Christi (Light of Christ).

Sacred Scripture (which these confused souls obviously don't spend much time with) makes this abundantly clear: "should you not judge those inside the Church"? (1 Corinthians 5:12), and again: "the saints will judge the world and angels" (1 Corinthians 6:2-3), and again: "the spiritual man judges all things" (1 Corinthians 2:15), and again: "Let prophets speak and the others judge" (1 Corinthians 14:29).

Not all judging is sinful. This is just common sense. Our legal system is structured in such a way that when a person commits a crime, he or she is tried before a judge and sentenced (judged) if found guilty. Likewise, it is our right (and duty) to judge words, ideas and actions which are not in conformity with the Gospels or which fail to conform to the Magisterial teaching of Christ's Church and to expose these as fallacious and/or sinful. In so doing, we are not rendering a judgment against a person. We are following the teaching of the great Saint Augustine (Bishop, Father and Doctor of the Church), who said: "Interficere errorem, diligere errantem" - kill the error, love the one who errs. This killing of what is sinful or erroneous is necessary if our charity - our love of neighbor - is to be genuine. Otherwise, our love is counterfeit. It is a fraud.

As this article explains, devout Catholics who speak out against error or immorality are often shot down immediately with the accusation that they are being "judgmental," that the Bible teaches us not to judge others, that they should just mind their own business. "After all," they’re told, "I’m not judging you and you shouldn’t be judging me. Read the Bible." But is that really what the Bible teaches?

When pressed to show where the Bible supports this, those who can come up with any response at all usually point to Jesus’ words found in the Gospel of Matthew, "Judge not, that you not be judged." Most people will stop there, with the clear conviction that the Bible teaches that we are not to pass any form of judgment on others. A closer look at this Bible verse and other related verses, however, uncovers a different understanding of Jesus’ teaching.

First, let’s look at the full context of Jesus’ words:

Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, "Let me take the speck out of your eye," when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye. (Matt. 7:1-5)

If we break this passage down line by line, it becomes clear that Jesus was not telling his disciples that they could not ever judge the behavior of others. Rather, he was cautioning them to live righteous lives themselves so that their judgment of others’ behavior would not be rash judgment and their efforts would be effective in admonishing their neighbors.

"Judge not, that you be not judged." By itself, this statement could be construed to mean that one may escape even God’s judgment simply by not judging the behavior of others. Of course, everyone is judged by God, so this cannot be a proper understanding. Jesus goes on to reformulate his statement in a positive way: "With the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get." Jesus indeed expects his disciples to judge but he warns that they, too, will be judged in a like manner.

This is reminiscent of the line in the Lord’s Prayer, "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us" (Matt. 6:12). Much more than a simple warning that God will treat us as we treat others, this is an appeal to each of us to be as much as we can like God in the way that we treat others. The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains, "there has to be a vital participation, coming from the depths of the heart, in the holiness and the mercy and the love of our God. Only the Spirit by whom we live can make ‘ours’ the same mind that was in Christ Jesus" (CCC 2842).

In the next two lines Jesus cautions against hypocrisy: "Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?" Judging hypocritically is not effective. A petty thief admonished by a bank robber only scoffs at his admonisher.

Jesus then explains how to judge rightly: "First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." Much to the point of this article, there can be no doubt that those final words—"take the speck out of your brother’s eye"—are, indeed, permission to judge so long as it is done rightly.

Other Bible passages which seem on the surface to indicate a condemnation of judging others’ behavior may be treated similarly in their full context. The idea of rightly judging the behavior of others can be found throughout the New Testament.

Jesus told the Jews, "Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment" (John 7:24).

He instructed his disciples what to do if someone sins against them:

Go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. (Matt. 18:15-17)
It is not possible to follow Jesus’ instructions without being "judgmental" of another’s behavior.

Paul, too, exhorted right judgment of other Christians: "For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. Drive out the wicked person from among you" (1 Cor. 5:12-13).

Also, "Do you not know that the saints [i.e. Christians] will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, matters pertaining to this life!…Shun immorality" (1 Cor. 6:2-18).

A look at the Old Testament reveals similar teaching: "You shall do no injustice in judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor" (Lev. 19:15).

Clearly, contrary to what many would prefer to believe, the Bible exhorts us to rightly judge the behavior of others.

Deacon Tatro should apologize for his dishonest homily.  The role of any cleric, be he priest or Deacon, is to offer sound doctrine, which the faithful have a right to - see for example Veritatis Splendor, No. 113).

In fact, I issue a challenge to Deacon Tatro.  In light of the clear and unambiguous teaching presented in this post, please explain why you decided to offer parishioners at Holy Cross Church not the fine wheat of sound Catholic doctrine, but instead served up a meal of chaff.

Deacon?

8 comments:

Brian said...

Chalk it up to a diaconate training program which is entirely inadequate.

Alan said...

Deacons in the Worcester Diocese are poorly trained. Worse, the diaconate program was headed up by Father James Aquino for a long time. He was the priest arrested in Las Vegas for lewd conduct in an adult video store; to wit: masturbating in public.

Alan said...

http://lasalettejourney.blogspot.com/2005/10/still-more-on-fr-aquino-courtesy-of.html?m=1

Robert C. said...

Tatro is a proponent of the Social Gospel. I don't trust him at all.

Wendy said...

When I survey the devastation across the Worcester Diocese, it is simply shocking. I visit several parishes on a regular basis and they cannot even fill half the pews. There is invariably a stack of "Catholic" Free Press newspapers and no one takes one - even though they ARE FREE.

We are witnessing the disintegration of a diocese. Like the Springfield diocese, the decay has rapidly advanced and, barring a miracle, much of what used to be Catholic Massachusetts will be gone.

Jesus said the Gates of Hell would never prevail against His Church. There will always be a remnant. But He never promised that whole regions, even whole nations, would not lose the faith.

bvs said...

Thank you for the clear analysis and explanation.

Now I know how to respond. :)

Rod George said...

4.30pm Mass on Saturday for Sunday. No further comment neccessary.

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

I hope you're not suggesting that a Saturday Vigil Mass fails to fulfill the Sunday obligation Rod.

You would be mistaken.

http://www.ewtn.com/v/experts/showmessage.asp?number=480494&Pg=&Pgnu=&recnu=

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