Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Fenner laughed and then looked puzzled. "I don't understand one thing," he said. "If it was Wilson, how did Wynd come to have a man like that on such intimate terms? How did he come to be killed by a man he'd seen every day for years? He was famous as being a judge of men."

Father Brown thumped his umbrella on the ground with an emphasis he rarely showed.

"Yes," he said, almost fiercely. "That was how he came to be killed. He was killed for just that. He was killed for being a judge of men."

They all stared at him, but he went on almost as if they were not there.

"What is any man that he should be a judge of men?" he demanded. "These three were the tramps that once stood before him and were dismissed rapidly right and left to one place or another; as if for them there were no cloak of courtesy, no stages of intimacy, no free will in friendship. And twenty years has not exhausted the indignation born of that unfathomable insult in that moment when he dared to know them at a glance." --G.K. Chesterton, The Miracle of Moon Crescent

"If each of us would only sweep our own doorstep, the whole world would be clean." --Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

"...then who am I to judge him?" --Pope Francis in press conference during flight back to Rome from Rio De Janeiro


Terry Nelson said...

I'll say it again - I love you!

Itinérante said...

Does this apply if we judge people favourably?

Belfry Bat said...

Itinérante, you say "judge", but Fr. Brown said "judge". I'm not sure they are the same word.

We are called to judge acts (both committed and proposed), and to judge tools, and performances; we have not authority to judge men in this world, whether we ultimately approve or condemn them. The sense of "judge of men" as spoken by Fr. Brown in this colourful moment is incompatible with charity: it is to take a person as an object, to have already put him in a subordinate category to one's own.

So, judge a carpenter's carpentry, or a businessman's tact, or a neighbor's neighborliness, with more or less stricture, and then trust him or don't trust him, hire him or don't hire him; but one mustn't presume do judge the man who does carpentry, the man who conducts the business, the man who lives next door.

Paul Stilwell said...

Withholding judgement - to add to Bat's very nice response - can very often be a spiritual work of mercy: to hope and desire and pray for another person's eternal salvation as much as for one's own, when all of one's merely human instincts wish to "subordinate" him to a "category [of] one's own."

Itinérante said...

Thank you so much for tge replies! Both of you gave me something to think about! I will sleep a little less stupid tonight :)