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"One of the Spiritual Works of Mercy is to 'Admonish the Sinner'"

This was written by my friend Catholic pundit Richard Salbato who passed away a few years ago:

One of the Spiritual Works of Mercy is to "Admonish the sinner." How can we admonish the sinner, if we do not first judge it to be a sin? We are not judging the person, but we are judging his actions to be sinful – not his motives, but his actions.

Truth cannot be compromised—even if it makes enemies of our relatives. Some people will not accept the truth and will hate those who preach it. Truth demands judgment. If we see sin or error, we must call it for what it is.

Be Nice

If all is equal there can be no value distinctions, only different but equal assertions that have equal validity. Insisting that we all be nice to each other does this. This "niceness," of course, is a mask for obfuscating the truth.

The word, "nice", in this context means a civility that demands "agreeable" demeanor even at the compromise of truth. It is better to be agreeable than it is to tell the truth. And with this value of agreeableness, error goes unchallenged and truth obfuscated.

Jesus is seen as a 60’s flower-child type person who is a mild mannered milquetoast, gentle as a lamb, always agreeable and never harsh. This image of Jesus is a demonic lie. It is a delusion. It is a delusion because the Scriptural evidence does not support this image as the "exclusive" way in which Jesus conducted himself, yet despite the clear record of Scripture, people insist upon the milquetoast image.

Not So Nice Scripture

Jesus never compromised truth for niceness and cordiality: Matthew 3, 7, 10,12, and 23 use words like division, swine, cast off, brood of vipers, hypocrite, etc.

In addition, His apostles preaching His teaching instructs us to not associate with those calling themselves Christian but living a life of sin (1 Corinthians 5). Scripture also tells us to avoid certain people who pretend to be religion but who deny its power (2 Timothy 3), to shun heretics and divisive people (Titus 3), and even to hand unrepentant sinners over to Satan (1 Corinthians 5).

All these things require judgments to be made. When confronted with the situation that warrants it, the teachings of Jesus fly in the face of niceness. The teachings of Christ step on toes.

Christ calls us to truth, even when it hurts.

To know that we are to judge and how we are to judge, we must look to other passages. In Titus 3:9-11 we read: "perverted and sinful; he is self-condemned." We don’t condemn him, he condemns himself, but we do judge him to be divisive beyond tolerance because we tried to admonish him (judge his behavior and warn him of his sin) twice but he would not repent.

1 Corinthians 5:9-13 Do not associate with people calling themselves Christians who are "guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or robber—not even to eat with such a one."

Then Paul verse 12 "Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside."

St. Paul also tells us in 2 Timothy 3:1-9 that we are to avoid people who are "holding to a form of religion but denying the power of it" (e.g., liberals who strip our Church of its sacramental power). Others we are to avoid include those who are "Lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, fierce, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God…". How do we avoid them if we do not judge their actions to be sinful.

And finally, St. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 5:1-5 that some people must be excommunicated—completely removed from fellowship and handed over to Satan. Paul specifically says, "I have already pronounced judgment in the name of the Lord Jesus on the man who has done such a thing… you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus."

Objective and fundamental truths are either true or they are not; they cannot be both true and untrue at the same time. Thus we must rely not upon our own understanding, but upon God who understands all: “Do not rely on your own insight [understanding]. Be not wise in your own eye." —Proverbs 3:5-7 “[God]; he does not regard any who are wise in their own conceit.—Job 37:24; 38:1-5a, 17-18; 38:33; 39:26

O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards the faith —1 Timothy 6:20-21

St. Paul declares:

For though we live in the world we are not carrying on a worldly war, for the weapons of our warfare are not worldly but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete. … But we will not boast beyond limit, but will keep to the limits God has apportioned us…" 2 Corinthians 10:3-6, 13a

St. Paul teaches us:

For there are many insubordinate men, empty talker and deceivers…they must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for base gain what they have no right to teach... therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, instead of giving heed to Jewish myths or to commands of men who reject the truth.—Titus 1:13

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is to judge the living and the dead,… preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching. For a time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths.—2 Timothy 4:2-4 “

Pray an Our Father now for the restoration of the Mass and the Church as well as for the Triumph of the Kingdom of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.   

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