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Saturday, November 21, 2015

To Suspend Judgement Does Not Deny Values

 Francesco e Chiara

The humility of St. Francis - in my opinion - leads us to suspend judgement.

We still must make choices. We still live. We must choose what to eat, what to drink, where to live, whom to establish bonds of amity, whom to love and be loved; all things must be chosen and the decisions must be made upon as sound and moral a foundation as possible.

Yet we still suspend judgement.

Why might one suspend judgement? Is it merely the citation that as we measure out, so shall we receive in measure. As we cut and tailor, so shall we be suited. As we give, so shall we receive.

Judgement belongs to God alone.

Each judgement is a re-affirmation of a belief system, not openly but covertly. We can not remember our belief systems in their entirety. We who are Roman Catholics cannot remember their belief-stance on the subject of Monophysitism, for example. Do but remind us, and we shall attest our belief! - or anathema, in the Monophysitism case!

There is no complete list of beliefs, so there is no algorithm which we use to re-affirm each and every one. We merely affirm that our belief system - which is complexly intricate and wrapped up in itself - when we unwrap it and roll it out, it will be a seamless cloth of faith.

So when we make a judgement about something, we affirm everything... not right then, but we affirm the integrity of a belief system and its truth, whenever and wherever the compendium of beliefs pops up.

When the Greatest Generation affirmed marriage as a sacrament, it was a fine and proper thing.
They did not merely choose to marry; they judged that marriage was the proper state for them and others in their society.
However, at the same time, the great, great majority also affirmed an unstated, yet manifest and covert proposition that marriage should not be between people of different races.

So in making a moral judgement, we also affirmed the separation of races and perpetuated racism.
There is nothing here to do with the passage of time, nor the changing perspective of morals; we are talking about the unquestioned and hidden beliefs we never question, yet continually affirm as we affirm more less controversial beliefs.

A similar thing was apparent in the procedure by which the Christian Churches in the American South affirmed Slavery... but they came right out and asserted their infidelity to God and their fidelity to the power of economics and the state.
They went through their beliefs and struck out the words of Christ which offended them and their fellows.

We must choose, but beware of judgement.
If we choose someone to be a friend and someone else not to be, we need not append a judgement of the character of the unamiable dunce cast off... like I just did.


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