Friday, August 29, 2008

judge not

Time and again, not few people say that no one should dare judge others – or they themselves would also be judge. This does not only make sense. It also has a Christian element in it – along the context of “Do not do unto others when you do not want them do unto you.” Well and good. But fair is fair. And the matter of the principle of not judging others rightly demands some qualifications and certain distinction. Otherwise, everybody would have to pretend like the three proverbial moneys: See no evil. Hear no evil. Say no evil—or something to that effect.

If one lies and steals, what do others say about him or her? When someone engages in graft and corrupt practices, how do other people look upon him or her? In case this or that individual indulges in adultery, rape and/or other dastardly acts, how should his/her innocent victims consider the criminal? Should people simply keep quiet and hold their peace? Or should others instead look at them as blessed, consider them holy, judge them as saints?

Incidentally, if judging others is altogether taboo, why is it that the Country has Courts all over the land precisely to pronounce judgments on cases submitted for their adjudication? And perhaps not that well known people, why is it that the Church itself has Ecclesiastical Tribunals all over the globe to pass judgments on issues brought to their formal attention for judicial resolution? There must be something more than just the unqualified rule or absolute norm of “Do not judge” or “Do not pass judgment on others.”

The truth of the matter is, while infallible divine justice belongs to God alone in conjunction with the heavenly Kingdom, social justice is the concern of humanity here on earth. In other words, while still remaining fallible, human retain the judgment faculty about what to do or avoid doing, whom to trust or distrust, whom to reward or censure.

In the same way, secular Courts and Ecclesiastical Tribunals have the competence to pronounce judgments in their respective jurisdictions. Even in the just concluded Olympics, there were hundreds of judges who rendered hundreds of judgments as well on the also hundreds of athletes from all the continents of the world.

And this brings to fore the matter of the distinction between the internal forum and the external forum. All human judgments – be these personal or official in nature, be they civil or ecclesiastical in authority – are made but in the external forum, based only exterior factors or external evidence, and relevant simply in the human forum. To God only belongs judgment even in the internal forum. No merely human judgment even in the internal forum. No merely human judgment covers the internal forum simply because only God truly knows what is really interior to every man and woman, what they are internally thinking and feeling when they actually speak, when they act.

Will you simply trust this or that man with your wife, your daughter, your money? Do you always believe what this or that individual says, pledge, promise? How will you rate this or that character in honesty and integrity? Or will you simply be neutral or indifferent, making no judgment at all, of any kind? Only the dead make no judgment any longer. Reason: They are the ones judged by God Himself.

+OVCruz, DD
August 29, 2008