‘Judgmental’ Means What?
Theresa from Johannesburg – Michael Shackleton in his “Open Door” column equates the Holy Father with the actions of the pastoral care group for gay Catholics and their families in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, who he says “are demonstrating the non-judgmental love of the Church, the Body of Christ, for her own members”.
What does “non-judgmental love” mean? I have this for my children, my husband, my family, but does it mean that by correcting them when they err that I’m being judgmental?
True love requires sacrifice; true love desires what is good, true and beautiful for the other—note, not what feels good, true and beautiful.
Let’s correct the distinction between what feels like love to what is truly loving when we talk about “caring for others” and being “non-judgmental”. Jesus was non-judgmentally loving to the Samaritan woman, but he also lovingly told her to “sin no more”.
Today, if this approach is taken, labels such as bigot, judgmental, uncaring, unloving etc become the (judgmental?) responses of those who are “lovingly being cared for”.
The pope also calls for greater pastoral care for Catholics, so I have to ask how pastorally sound it is when it seems in most part the “care” often omits a fundamental part of Catholic teaching “that sex belongs properly within the sacrament of matrimony only”.
Correct, who are we to judge anybody on their sexual inclinations, but immoral sexual acts should, out of love, be judged, especially at a pastoral level (this goes for all immoral sexual behaviour of both same-sex attraction people as well as heterosexual people, by the way).
If immoral sexual acts are not an issue, pastoral care then is about walking with the person with same-sex attraction, giving them the strength and continued desire to be inspired by the Gospel’s call to holiness and the Church’s beautiful teaching on the goodness and inherent teaching of human sexuality, which is what we are all called to.
Mr Shackleton is right when he says, “Christians who are gay yet sincere in their faith, feel the weight of this cross. They should bear in mind our Lord’s tender words: ‘Come to me all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart’”(Mt 11:28).
This is truly a heavy cross to bear, especially in light of the worldview of active homosexual lifestyles but with Christ (and with good guidance) all things are possible.