Judge Not

February 14, 2014 | 17 comments

By now, most of us are well aware of how Alana Horowitz (and any number of other secular writers), writing for The Huffpost, informed us of just how surprised people were when Pope Francis encouraged Maltese Bishop Charles Scicluna to speak out against a bill that would allow same-sex couples to adopt children in Malta. And this, after the LGBT magazine, The Advocate, named him their “Man of the Year,” and Time Magazine named him “Person of the Year.”

Wasn't Pope Francis to be the first Pope to finally reverse the Catholic Church's antiquated stance against homosexual unions? How could he do such a thing?

Damian Thompson, columnist for The Daily Telegraph, and editor of their Telegraph Blog, writes: “Pope Francis ‘shocked’ by gay adoption. Will Time take back its Person of the Year award?”

Oh, the humanity!

Surprised?

You’d think the fact that he’s the Pope would be enough for folks to know Pope Francis is Catholic, i.e., he believes homosexual acts to be sinful. It’s not like the Pope has the authority to send Moses back up the mountain to make changes.

News Flash: Homosexual acts are sinful always and in every situation. There can be no exceptions. This is an infallible and therefore irreformable teaching of the Catholic Church. Just so we all know (see CCC 2357; CDF; Persona Humana 8).

But even if the pundits are completely in the dark as to the above, wouldn't they have known that then Argentine Cardinal Bergoglio (before he became Pope Francis), in a letter written to four monasteries in Argentina, urged them to pray “fervently” that legislation would not pass in his native country that was to give same-sex couples the right to both marry and adopt children? He warned if approved, it would “seriously damage the family.” Even more, he said:

In the coming weeks, the Argentine people will face a situation whose outcome can seriously harm the family…At stake is the identity and survival of the family: father, mother and children. At stake are the lives of many children who will be discriminated against in advance, and deprived of their human development given by a father and a mother and willed by God. At stake is the total rejection of God’s law engraved in our hearts…

Let us not be naive: this is not simply a political struggle, but it is an attempt to destroy God’s plan. It is not just a bill (a mere instrument) but a “move” of the father of lies who seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.

I guess not.

In fact, because then Cardinal Bergoglio declared same-sex couples adopting children to be a form of discrimination against children, he was publicly rebuked by Argentina's President, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.

I don't think there is much to be confused about here.

The Disconnect

The reason why I am only now chiming in to a story that has been beaten to death, resurrected, and beaten to death again, is that I believe folks have for the most part missed the fact that much of the confusion surrounding this matter stemmed from, among other things to be sure, a colossal misapprehension of Jesus' words in Matt. 7:1: "Judge not, that you be not judged." That's where I would like to jump into the fray.

During an interview the Holy Father gave on his return flight from Rio de Janeiro's World Youth Day on July 28, 2013, when he was asked about an alleged "gay lobby" at the Vatican, his fateful response was as follows:

So much is written about the gay lobby. I have yet to find anyone who can give me a Vatican identity card with “gay” [written on it]. They say they are there. I think that when you encounter a person like this, you must make a distinction between the fact of a person being gay from the fact of being a lobby, because lobbies, all are not good. That is bad. If a person is gay and seeks the Lord and has good will, well who am I to judge them? 

In a subsequent interview the Holy Father gave to La Civiltà Cattolica, an Italian Jesuit journal, later translated into English and published in the Jesuit journal America for the English-speaking world, he reiterated:

In Buenos Aires I used to receive letters from homosexual persons who are "socially wounded" because they tell me that they feel like the church has always condemned them. But the church does not want to do this. During the return flight from Rio de Janeiro I said that if a homosexual person is of good will and is in search of God, I am no one to judge. By saying this, I said what the catechism says.

These profoundly Christian responses ended up being transmogrified into the Pope’s acquiescence to the moral liceity of homosexual acts. And that is where the trouble started. In fact, Barbara Walters, in an interview with Pierce Morgan on CNN, concerning the revealing of her "10 Most Fascinating People of 2013," said the Pope is now "embracing" homosexuals and saying words to the effect of, "What these people do in their private lives is none of my business." This would represent a sort of Ebenezer Scrooge version of Christianity. Our Holy Father could not be further removed from this sentiment. "Humanity is [his] business!"

This level of disconnect is odd when you consider in that same article in America the Pope made clear that while emphasizing Christians should not "insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods," spoken in the context of the importance of the initial proclamation of the Gospel to a world in desparate need, he also said:

The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear [on these matters of abortion, homosexual acts, and contraception] and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.

Again, what part of this don't they understand? I would suggest the answer may lie simply in wishful thinking. It is amazing what a human can will himself to either see or not see when he wants to.

Judge Not Lest You Be Judged

In order to understand Pope Francis's words, we have to separate two senses in which he used the term "judge." When the Pope said, “Who am I to judge?” he was alluding to our Lord’s famous words from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7:1—Judge not, that you be not judged. This is speaking of the judging of the actions of others. Our Lord is all in favor as we will see below.

When he Pope spoke of homosexuals being judged in the sense of being "condemned," he was referring to the absolute prohibition of "judging" the inner motives of the heart, or the eternal destination of souls. According to St. Paul, in I Cor. 4:3-5, this we ought never do as Christians.

Let's begin with Matt. 7:1. Unfortunately, this text, I would argue, is not only the most often misapplied verse in the Bible (a photo finish with “turn the other cheek”—fodder for another blog post), but it is right up there with John 3:16 and Psalm 23 as one of the most recognized passages in the Bible. People who have never darkened the door of a church know it and quote it, while very few actually understand it… in context.

"Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?... You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye" (Matt. 7:1-5).

To many, and evidently to Barbara Walters, “judge not” here means if you want to follow Jesus, you cannot judge anyone in any sense. Committed adultery, did you? Just pull out your Matt. 7:1 “judge not” card and no one can say anything about what you’ve done. I mean, after all, “You don’t want to judge anyone,” right? Homosexual sin? “Don’t you dare judge!”

But the context of Matthew 7 makes clear that our Lord was not condemning all judgment. He was condemning being hypocritical in judgment. He condemns the tendency all of us have, and we must guard against, to judge others more severely than we judge ourselves. 

Our Holy Father also brought to the fore the importance of mercy when it comes to judging. Notice, he was speaking of homosexuals who are attempting to follow God's will for their lives when he said, "Who am I to judge;" He was not speaking of those who live openly and willingly in sin. "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy" (Matt. 5:7) immediately comes to mind. That's another quite famous line from that same Sermon on the Mount. 

The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant (cf. Matt. 18:23-35) serves as a dramatic reminder for us that justice must always be tempered with mercy. This, it seems to me, is at least one of the Pope's points. After the "unmerciful servant" was forgiven a debt of ten thousand talents (that would represent all of us who have been forgiven by the Lord), he refused to forgive his fellow servant who owed a mere one hundred denarii. Jesus said of that servant:

"You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me; and should not you have had mercyon your fellow servant...? And in anger his lord delivered him to the jailers, till he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to everyone of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart."

I find it interesting how so often it will be those known for demanding strict justice when it comes to other people’s failings who quickly change their tune decidedly when the crosshairs of justice focus in upon them. Anybody remember Jimmy Swaggart? Suddenly, the concept of mercy comes into focus.

The bottom line here is this: Our Lord asks us in the Gospel to judge both consistently and mercifully. Our Lord's Vicar predictably does the same. 

Contrary to popular opinion, an emphasis on mercy and consistency in judgment need not diminish the importance of justice—and the essential judgments that must be made in order for there to be justice—in the slightest. It is to bring balance. Jesus condemned those who would pass over either justice or mercy:

Woe to you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faith... (Matt. 23:23)

I have no reason to believe the Holy Father does anything different.

Jesus Commands Christians to Judge

Now we proceed to one of the least known Bible verses when it comes to the topic of “judging.” John 7:24:

Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

Here, Jesus commands us to judge. 

For those who misunderstand Matt. 7:1, this sounds like a contradiction. But if we pause to think about this for a moment, the spiritual works of mercy we should have been taught from our childhood represent the classic example of this truth. And these are not optional, folks. Our eternity depends upon fulfilling them in our lives.

What are the Spiritual Works of Mercy (see CCC 2447)?

1. To comfort those who are suffering.

2. To console those who have suffered loss.

3. To forgive those who ask for pardon.

4. To forbear with those who hurt us, even if they are not sorry.

5. To admonish the sinner

6. To educate the ignorant.

As Catholics, we are generally aware of the corporal works of mercy. Jesus lists five out of six of them in his famous depiction of the final judgment in Matt. 25:31-46: To feed and give drink to the hungry (I am joining those two into one work as does CCC 2447), clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, and to visit the sick and imprisoned. The sixth is to bury the dead, and is found in Tobit 1:16-17. 

Our Lord used the strongest of terms in teaching these corporal works of mercy to be constitutive of the Chrisian life. One day we will all stand before the Lord and give an account of our lives—every thought, word, and deed. And an essential part of that judgment will involve an examination of how we fulfilled the corporal works of mercy. Catholics generally get that. If we cannot actually perform all of these ourselves, we need to support those who do through our prayers and financial gifts.

But what many of us don’t seem to get is the fact that the spiritual works of mercy are  not optional either. We will also be judged as to how we’ve fulfilled these in our lives. And most imortant to our point: the last two—to admonish the sinner, and to educate the ignorantnecessarily involve making judgments concerning the actions of others. 

James 5:19-20:

My brethren, if any one among you wanders from the truth and some one brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

Ez. 3:18-19:

If I say to the wicked, "You shall surely die," and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way... that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand.

These two texts are examples of the Christian calling to admonish the sinner.

I Tim. 4:16:

Take heed to yourself and to your teaching; hold to that, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.

This is an excellent example of the call to educate the ignorant. In order to admonish the sinner or educate the ignorant, judgments simply must be made about either the actions or the state of knowledge of others. These texts are both clear in their exposition of these truths and reminders that these matters bind each of us gravely. 

St. Paul Brings Clarity

When it comes to judging in the sense of "condemning," St. Paul definitely concurs with Pope Francis that this kind of judging is out of bounds for Christians:

But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. I do not even judge myself. I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not prounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then every man will receive his commendation from God (I Cor. 4:3-5).

Notice, St. Paul says he cannot even judge himself, much less others, but in the context of judging inner motives and eternal destinations. Why? Because God alone knows the hearts of men (cf. II Chr. 6:30). God alone is, therefore, the judge of souls.

Conclusion

When Pope Francis speaks of judging mercifully or not judging (i.e. condemning) at all, he is coming from a long Christian tradition that distinguishes between the judgment of actions that all Christians are required to make both in their own lives and in the lives of others they are called to love with the truth, and the judgment of the inner motives of people that is the domain of God alone.

What Pope Francis was certainly not saying is that the Church is about to change the unchangeable. This we can know for certain because our Lord himself guaranteed when he promised the keys of the kingdom to Peter, "I will build my church" (cf. Matt. 16:15-18). Peter and his successors couldn't change infallible teachings of the Church if they tried. Jesus simply would not allow it. 

No need to worry, the Ten Commandments are safe and protected.

 


Tim Staples is Director of Apologetics and Evangelization here at Catholic Answers, but he was not always Catholic. Tim was raised a Southern Baptist. Although he fell away from the faith of his childhood, Tim came back to faith in Christ during his late teen years through the witness of Christian...

Catholic Answers To Common Objections
In Catholic Answers To Common Objections you and your non-Catholic friends will be staggered by the mountain of scriptural evidence Tim Staples has compiled to prove the truth of even the most controversial Catholic teachings.

Comments by Catholic.com Members

#1  Steven Way - Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio

Thanks, Tim. Well said, and you pretty much covered everything.

February 14, 2014 at 4:58 pm PST
#2  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

I appreciate that, Steven. Stay in touch!

February 14, 2014 at 6:03 pm PST
#3  mary martinez - west sacramento, California

The intentional or unintentional misinterpretation of the Bible will forever be at the center of our social divisions. The fact is any one who chooses to live only for their own gratification will allow themselves to understand the truths that our offered in scripture. Instead they construct their own measures by which to discern right from wrong The adults in these disordered situations not only bring harm to themselves and jeopardize their own salvation, they selfishly drag blessed innocents down with them. My daughter works as a pre-k teacher and sees the children of so called parents struggle to understand why their classmates have a mom and a dad and why they do not. Living for the sake of total permissiveness is bad enough but bringing children into that environment for the purpose of feeding vanity is evil. I know acts can not be outlawed but manufacturing human beings for the sole purpose of making something appear legitimate and wholesome when it is not is something that people of well formed morals and conscience should fight harder against. Future generations will sadly grow to consider this normal unless we do more to openly defend the truth.

February 14, 2014 at 11:28 pm PST
#4  mary martinez - west sacramento, California

CORRECTION
"will NOT allow themselves to understand the truths that are offered in scripture"

February 14, 2014 at 11:34 pm PST
#5  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Romans 1:18-25 says, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth. [25] because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen."
These two verses speak volumes to this generation.

February 15, 2014 at 5:15 am PST
#6  kenneth winsmann - katy, Texas

Mr. Tim Staples,

What a wonderful post! I have found myself feeling a little depressed recently with all the poor coverage Pope Francis has received. It seems that both the secular press and also our (more polemical)protestant brothers and sisters place him in the most liberal light imaginable time and time again. You do such a great job for Catholic Answers and played a large role in my wife and I coming into full communion with the Church sometime this year! God bless you and your family.

February 15, 2014 at 10:25 am PST
#7  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Hello Kenneth,

Thank you for your kind words. I am glad I could help you. I think the core of the Pope's message will win out in the end. It always does!

February 15, 2014 at 10:45 am PST
#8  AJ Boggs - Buena Vista, Virginia

Tim:

I know you probably hear this everyday, but you are really good at what you do. I refer to your writings consistently when I am speaking (and more specifically, defending) with others about the Catholic faith. I think you may have made a typing error, however, (or maybe I'm just wrong) when you said,

"he was alluding to our Lord’s famous words from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7:1—Judge not, that you be not judged. This is speaking of the judging of the actions of others."

I have always understood this kind of judging - that is, the judging in Matthew 7:1 - as not* referring to the judgment of the actions of others, rather, it means not condemning someone, saying they are headed for hell, or judging their interior motives. Judgment of the actions of others, I have always understood, is perfectly acceptable and something that is routinely done by Jesus and the apostles throughout the New Testament.

February 15, 2014 at 2:59 pm PST
#9  Thomas Moos - Frisco, Texas

Mr. Tim Staples,

Thank you for writing on this topic; and I quite agree. I had a discussion about sin with a non-denominational Christian and he used the words: "Hey, I don't judge..." I think the backstop of his usage of this phrase was a misinterpretation of Matthew 7:1.

At the time I left it at that but it's always bothered me, because I always remember it as: "Judge not, lest ye be judged", and what I took away from that was a cautionary tale by Jesus. You see he doesn't quite say: "Don't judge"

I mean we all make judgements all the time, i.e. when driving in traffic: should I make a lane change now or 2 miles from now. I hope you get my point.

Thomas

February 15, 2014 at 4:42 pm PST
#10  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Hello AJ,
There are two common misconceptions when it comes to Matt. 7:1. Some say, as I said in my post, that Jesus is condemning judging in any sense. That is manifestly false. Others will say Jesus is condemning judging inner motives, as you've said. But actually, neither position is correct.
If you just take 7:1 out of context it would be easy to conclude the former, but the latter is no where to be found in the text at all. Jesus never even hints at the idea that he is only speaking of judging inner motives or eternal destinations.
I think verse 5 is the clincher: "You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." Jesus is clearly condemning hypocrisy in judging, not judging as a category.

February 16, 2014 at 9:16 am PST
#11  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Hello Thomas,
I think a key point to remember is Jesus is not talking about judgments we make concerning ourselves, i.e., "I'm going to make a lane change." He is talking about judging the actions of others. But you are right, we make these kinds of judgments all the time. We have to. If we love someone, and they make a poor judgment, and let's say, commit adultery, and then continue to live in that adulterous situation, the loving thing to do in that situation is to confront them in a loving and respectful way.
That is an example of the "admonishing of a sinner" that James 5:19-20 and Ez. 3:18-19 talk about. That involves making a judgment about the actions of another, but that is not what Jesus is condemning in Matt. 7.

February 16, 2014 at 9:24 am PST
#12  Julie Puhr - Princeton, Illinois

Very good response Tim. I am so fatigued by the "don't judge me" that every one uses erroneously as you described . now being the good Catholic ( kidding here) that I am, I don't know scripture and verse and not adept at responding as you do...one day. Thank you for all you do and may God continue to keep your light shining...

Julie

February 16, 2014 at 11:44 am PST
#13  Mark Advent - Simpsonville, South Carolina

Bookmarked!!

February 16, 2014 at 5:31 pm PST
#14  stephen holinaty - Jackson, New Jersey

Pope Francis Has It Right

The First Ten Amendments of the US Constitution which includes the Freedom of Religion and the Freedom of Speech. Unfortunately, for the last 50 years since the "sexual revolution" of the 1960's I feel morality and our Freedom of Speech and to openly live our religious faith has disintegrated.

We now live in a "grey" or generic world. That is why we should thank God every day for Pope Francis. As Catholics we follow certain beliefs. This includes the "5 non negotiable of the Catholic Faith".

The first two non-negotiable are abortion and euthanasia are immoral. Pope Paul VI after Vatican II stayed strong against pressure to "condone" the use of contraceptives. Pope John Paul II took it a step further with the assertion that life begins at conception and goes until natural death. There are laws that put people in jail for cruelty to animals. There are people who petition outside a prison where someone is going to executed. But the majority of the United States goes quiet when a child is aborted. People say it is for the best. Or when a person is assisted to death. It ends their suffering. When did we become God? When did we receive the right to say who lives and who dies?

The next two embryonic and human cloning are immoral. People may say what about in the name of science? How about the fact that medical research can be done with adult stem cells that does not harm the adult. An embryo is a living being. As for human "cloning" all I have to say is why? Whether you believe that civilization has been around for thousands or millions of years. Humans have been born not made. Again God gives us the gift of life, it is not something that can be ordered off a menu.

Finally the last one is the definition of marriage. Again no matter how long you believe that the humans have been on earth, marriage has been defined as a union between one man and one woman. You may argue about equal rights. Women fought for the right to vote, equal wages, etc. it did not change the definition of what a woman is. The definition was not change to calling them men. So why all of a sudden can the word "marriage" be redefined?

The reason I say thank God for Pope Francis is that I truly believe he has the message of Christ. Whether you believe in the Bible or not it is hard to argue with the message. There is a passage in the Bible where a women is going to be stoned to death after committing adultery. Jesus after righting in the dirt said who is without sin cast the first stone. One by one the lynch mob went away (John 8:7-11)

Pope Francis is here to say I love you not to judge you.

In the Bible Jesus was questioned why he was having dinners tax collectors and sinners, Jesus replied that "It is not the healthy who needs a doctor but the sick...I desire mercy not sacrifice..." (Matthew 9:10-13).

Pope Francis says I am accessible and I am hear to help and pray for/with you.

So my message is to say the First Ten Amendments of the US Constitution gives us the right to free speech and freedom of religion. As Catholic & Christians we are here to share the good word in a positive way. But just as importantly we can not change the message. We can not and should not compromise the integrity of our faith to try and make it fit in today's world.

Mohandas Gandhi said Be the change that you want to see in the world. Remember the Parable of the Farmer Scattering Seed told by Jesus:

Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn't have deep roots, they died. Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” (Matthew 13:3-9)

We need to be like Pope Francis and not let "secularism" dominate today's world.
We need to be like Pope Francis and help others hear the true message as it was presented 2000 years ago.
We need to like Pope Francis and LIVE the message as it was meant to be...uncompromising, with compassion and love.

February 16, 2014 at 9:32 pm PST
#15  Michael Robinson - Scappoose, Oregon

Now, everyone pray that that the secular interpretation of judge not lest ye be judged will abate. It is not loving to ignore a fellow man's sinning when admonishing him could bring an end to it. It is not loving to give marriage tax breaks to same sex couples who do not need them. It is not loving to give politically active homosexuals more lobbying power than non homosexuals. Sadly, this is what is happening in American today. Obama is pro gay, pro birth control, probably pro sterilization, and probably pro abortion. Sadly, America elected him not once but twice. He is an embarrassment to all Americans with a sound moral compass. Fortunately, the aversion to having crippled leaders means that Obama can't be President again. Unfortunately, he will probably remain president till 2016.

February 17, 2014 at 1:25 am PST
#16  Bill Monteith - Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

Thank you Tim for this article and thanks specifically for mentioning John 7:24. I was one of those who initially was disconcerted with some of Pope Francis' early comments. Viewing myself as a faithful and obedient Catholic, I felt "judged" for my strong stance on abortion by the very man who was supposed to be my spiritual leader here on earth. However, once the dust settled and I started to read more deeply about our Holy Father I felt much more secure. I think 2014 will be a big reality check for those who thought Francis was the man to finally secularize the Catholic faith.

February 18, 2014 at 7:39 am PST
#17  Ken Hirlinger - Florissant, Missouri

Tim. Thanks for all you do. You came to our Parish one time in St. Louis, MO in the 1990s0
The Pope's and now Cardinal Dolan's "who am I to judge?" regarding homosexuals has confused many.
Like you, I think confusion stems from the understanding of the notion of judging in scripture, and the way the word is used in common parlance today.
I think there are two senses of judging, and you've mentioned them. First the notion of judging in the sense of recognizing or identifying ACTIONS, our own or others', in comparison with what one's conscience says about the ACTIONS. Christian conscience should be formed by the Teaching of the Church. For example, actions that violate the Ten Commandmens would be considered objectively sinful. Or, in the case at hand, the Church's teaching on homosexuality as found in the Catechism, Scripture, etc. So in the first sense of judging we're merely doing a matching process between what we see and what we believe to be right or wrong. And as you suggest, that process is a totally human thing to do. And as you mention, the calling out of sins, while not condemning one to Hell, can be a spiritual work of mercy. We are calling out the objective ACTION, judging the human ACT. We are not pronouncing a definitive sentence to HELL.
Second, the notion of judging, which I think is what Jesus alludes to in the passage of the woman caught in adultery, is the notion of a final, definitive, unalterable sentence to Hell. This is what Jesus forbids: a condemnatory damnation to Hell. The mob was attempting to pronounce a definitive, final sentence on the woman. In other words I think Jesus meant we should not say someone is definitely going to Hell.
There are grave sins that remove the state of grace and leave one vulnerable to going to Hell, but there are interior conditions to be met in order to remove that grace (know it's a grave sin, not be under duress, do it anyway).
Only God can know with certainty those interior conditions and indicate at the particular judgment whether one is in a state of grace and thereby is going to Hell or not. So, to pronounce a final sentence on someone is not within our powers, and not our role.
I believe that the Pope and Cardinal Dolan are using the second sense of judging in their remarks.
To have B. Walters' understanding, the Pope would have had to say homosexual acts are not grave sins, and that homosexuality is not disordered. But, the Pope didn't say either of those things, and neither did Cardinal Dolan. And as you well documented, the Pope has spoken quite clearly in the past his agreement with the Church's teachings on homosexuality, and gay marriage and gay adoption.
Unfortunately, I think most people are interpreting the Pope's words the way B. Walters did. Their notion of not judging is to not mention Christian morality.
Best Regards in Christ,
Ken Hirlinger
St. Louis, MO

March 14, 2014 at 9:59 am PST

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