Can we judge people’s intentions? (and more on the Pachamama)

We have to keep in mind that we are limited creatures and, as such, our knowledge is also limited. We are not God.  We are not all-knowing.  Therefore, we can only judge things to the extent that we can see or witness.  We cannot judge things that are unknown to us, we cannot judge things that we cannot see or witness.  We cannot declare or imply as certain things that are uncertain.  Unless a person publicly or openly manifests his intention of doing something, or unless the intentions of a person are reasonable manifested with the evidence of external acts, we cannot judge the intentions of a person for it is an internal knowingly chosen act of the will and intellect. Only God is the Right Judge of the person’s intentions, or conscience, for only God and the person performing the act know about it (1 Corinthians 4:5), (CCC# 1795).  We are not to usurp God’s role. Even when a person openly manifests his intention about something, even when we can judge the person’s intentions based on external evidence, we can only judge to the extent (or measure) of the information given or available for we are not all-knowing, and we may not know if the person is saying a falsehood or trying to deceive us.

If you judge people’s intentions without any verification or without any good evaluation, then you have fallen into the sin of rash judgement.

Saint and Doctor of the Church Thomas Aquinas, based on another Saint and Doctor Augustine, teaches:

“our Lord forbids rash judgement which is about inward intention, or other uncertain things, as Augustine states (De Serm. Dom. in Monte ii 18)”  – (Summa Theologiae; Second Part of the Second Part, Question 60, Article 2, Whether is lawful to judge? – Reply to Objection 1).

The Catechism quoting Gaudium Et Spes #16 teaches:

“Conscience is man’s most secret core, and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths” – (CCC# 1795).

Since conscience is a person’s most secret core, a sanctuary between only God and the person, and we don’t have access to such information, then we cannot judge in what conscience a person has performed an act.  We cannot judge what is unknown to us.

Our Lord teaches:

[Matthew 7]
{7:1} “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged.
{7:2} For with whatever judgment you judge, so shall you be judged; and with whatever measure you measure out, so shall it be measured back to you.
{7:3} And how can you see the splinter in your brother’s eye, and not see the board in your own eye?
{7:4} Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the splinter from your eye,’ while, behold, a board is in your own eye?
{7:5} Hypocrite, first remove the board from your own eye, and then you will see clearly enough to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.

Without any information or evaluation of external acts, we don’t know the thoughts or intentions of persons’ minds and hearts. We cannot see that. How can we know the thoughts or the intentions of a person when such thoughts or intentions are unknown to us, or when there is no evidence of a particular intended act? Therefore, we cannot judge those thoughts or intentions. Unless that person reveals his thoughts or intentions to us, or unless there is enough evidence of an intended act, then we can judge whether the intentions of the person are good or bad, but only to the extent or measure of the information given or available.

The Catechism also teaches:

“A morally good act requires the goodness of the object, of the end, and of the circumstances together” – (1755).

Therefore, in order to evaluate whether an act is moral or immoral, we must take in consideration the following three fonts (or sources) of morality:

1) The intended end, or intentions – This can be determined more accurately when the act is done by yourself for you know in what conscience (if you choose to do or not to do an act in bad conscience you commit an actual sin), or the full extent of your intended end in order to perform your intended means.  This can also be evaluated by somebody else based on (or to the extent of, or measure of) external evidence (a bad moral object or bad intended means makes a bad intention) chosen by the person who performs the act, or any other information available.

2) The moral object of the act itself, (intended means, or the moral target of the act itself); and

3) the circumstances – The anticipated good consequences must outweigh the bad ones in order for this font to be good.  For this, the use of prudence is necessary.

However, when an external act (or the moral object of the act itself) of a fellow person is good (intrinsically good), we cannot judge that such act was performed with evil intentions because that information is simply not available to us (unless such intentions has been revealed to us).  In doubt, we should give the benefit of the doubt.  Otherwise, we fall into the sin of rash judgement which God forbids (Matthew 7:4-5).  Therefore, in those cases we can only judge the good external act (the moral object) because that’s as far as we can see.  We cannot judge things that we cannot see.  Even if the intention (first font) was bad in a particular case, what is available for us to see is the external act or the moral object (second font) which remains good regardless of a bad intention.  The second font remains unaffected by intentions or circumstances.

“Intention and circumstances affect the morality of the overall act (which includes all three fonts). But intention and circumstances have no effect on the second font, which is determined solely by the inherent ordering of the act itself toward its moral object.” – (The Catechism of Catholic Ethics; 204. The Relationship of the Fonts).

“The morality of the first and third fonts (intention and circumstances) does not affect the essential moral nature of the chosen act, which is the second font.” – (ibid).

If the moral object (the behavior or the moral target of the act itself) is intrinsically evil, then we know that the act is immoral regardless of the intention and the circumstances.  If one of the three fonts is bad, the act is immoral.

Let’s have two examples, one with a bad moral object, and another with a good moral object:

1) Example with a bad moral object (an intrinsically evil act):

A man robs a bank. We can judge that robbing a bank is bad and sinful. Based on the evidence of the man’s external act, we can judge that his intended means of stealing money from the bank was bad. However, we cannot judge his motivation(s) for robbing a bank. We cannot judge his soul or his conscience. He could have done it (a) out of greed or (b) out of necessity or desperation to help his family.  That particular internal information we don’t know. Only God and the person performing that act know such particular internal information.  Despite judging correctly that the man’s intended means makes his overall act immoral regardless of the intended end (even with the best of intentions) or circumstances (even if the good consequences outweigh the bad ones), we don’t know the man’s heart and mind.  That particular information we don’t know (unless otherwise revealed).  Intention is an element essential to the moral evaluation of an action (CCC#1752), but it is not the only one (CCC# 1756).

“However, although we can judge that an act is in itself a grave offense, we must entrust judgment of persons to the justice and mercy of God.” – (CCC# 1861).

2) Example with good moral object (an intrinsically good act):

Two men perform the same external act of helping a beggar (moral object). On the outside, this act looks good for both men. However, one man does it out of sincere love of God and neighbor, but the other man does not care about the beggar, he just does it for vainglory. While each man performs the same exact external act respectively, one man is performing a virtuous act, the other is sinning.  But in this case, we have no access to each man’s internal knowingly chosen act’s information.  Therefore, we cannot judge what was each man’s intended end.  All we know is that their intended means (external act) was good.  In the case of a good intention and a good moral object, the inherent moral meaning of the act itself is good.

Notice that when: (a) an act is intrinsically evil, we can know by the external evidence (moral object) that a person’s intended means was bad, thus making his intention objectively bad.  Even if a person had a good intended end such as helping a family, his intended means of stealing makes his intention bad.  Despite of not knowing his intended end we can conclude of a bad intention because of a bad intended moral object.  However, when (b) an act is intrinsically good, we cannot determine whether a person’s intended end was good or bad because we don’t have access to that internal information (unless it is revealed to us). A good moral object (an intrinsically good act) does not give us information of a person interior knowingly chosen act.  All we can know is that the external act was good and we can assume in good faith that the person acted with a good intended end (unless proven the contrary).  Only God and the person performing such act know the person’s interior knowingly chosen act.

When the moral object is good (intrinsically good), the morality of the overall act depends on the intentions (first font) or the circumstances (third font).  But when the moral object is bad (intrinsically evil), the act does not depend on the intentions or circumstances, the act is bad regardless of the intentions or circumstances.  Therefore, we cannot have the same type of evaluation of the overall act with a good moral object as with a bad moral object because the dependency between the fonts of the overall act is not the same.  An intrinsically evil act gives us information of a bad intended means in terms of morality, thus making the overall act immoral.  However, an intrinsically good act let us know of a good intended means, but does not give us information whether the intended end of a person was good or bad.

In order to determinate whether the first font is immoral, any of the other fonts must be bad. But when the moral object(s) (second font) and circumstances (third font) are both good, then we don’t have access to that internal information of the person’s intended knowingly chosen act, unless it is revealed it to us.

The Catechism teaches:

“Intention is not limited to directing individual actions, but can guide several actions toward one and the same purpose; it can orient one’s whole life toward its ultimate end. For example, a service done with the end of helping one’s neighbor can at the same time be inspired by the love of God as the ultimate end of all our actions. One and the same action can also be inspired by several intentions, such as performing a service in order to obtain a favor or to boast about it.– (CCC# 1752).

Notice that in the above example given by the Catechism, the moral object “helping one’s neighbor” (second font), is intrinsically good.  In such case, we know that the intended means is good, but we don’t know what could have been the intended end of the person.  The intended end could have been (a) love of God and neighbor (which is usually the case with a person of good will), but it could also have been (b) to boast about it.  But that particular internal information we don’t know.   With a good intended means, the intended end is unknown to us.  Only God and the person performing such act know (unless otherwise revealed to us).  With a good moral object, good circumstances, and since intention is an internal knowingly chosen act of the will and intellect of the person, we cannot judge such internal information or intentions unless it is revealed to us.  The decision to do this act may or not be moral, depending on the intended end, and whether or not the benefits outweigh the harm in the circumstances.  But this second font remains good.  And that’s as far as we can see in such case.

“An evil end corrupts the action, even if the object is good in itself (such as praying and fasting “in order to be seen by men”).” – (CCC# 1755).

Another example with three scenarios: A man calls in sick to work.

1) If that’s all the information that you have and you say that the man isn’t really sick, that he just wanted to skip his job for a day, then you are sinning by rash judging that man.  The man could really be sick and telling the truth. All you know is that he made a call to give such information.  The moral object (second font) of making a call to give a necessary information to the manager is good.

2) If the man tells you that he called in sick to work in order to go to a concert that he likes, then, with such given information, you can rightly judge that his intended means which is to give a false information, to lie (moral object) is always intrinsically evil. In this case, the man’s intended end is not evil by itself  (avoiding to lose his job and having a time of amusement as a result).  However, his moral object of making a call was to lie which is intrinsically evil, thus corrupting his intended end of having an amusement time while avoiding the possibility to lose his job.  Therefore, his overall act is bad.  Though each act stands on its own and has an inherent moral meaning before God, one bad font is sufficient to make the overall act bad.

3) If the man has not told you that he was going to call in sick to work but he told you that he really wanted to go to a concert that particular day, then you can rightly judge that you suspect that the man may not have been really sick. But in order to avoid rash judgment, maintain this suspicion of yours as your personal opinion. Do not gossip about it, for though the man is a suspect, the man may still be telling the truth.  In doubt, give the benefit of the doubt.

That being said, and notwithstanding anything to the contrary, the Pope is not to be judged by anyone except God. Only God can judge the Pope.

Canon Law 1404: “The First See is judged by no one”.

Therefore, if the earthly power goes astray, it will be judged by the spiritual power; but if a lesser spiritual power goes astray, [it will be judged] by its superior; and truly, if the highest [power] goes astray, it will not be able to be judged by man, but by God alone. And so the Apostle testifies, “The spiritual man judges all things, but he himself is judged by no one.” [1 Corinthians 2:15]” – (Unam Sanctam).

Papal accusers have dared not only to judge the Pope, but also to accuse him of grave errors and sins. Such accusations are contrary of the dogma of Vatican I, therefore, false. For more information on the Pope’s charism of truth and never-failing faith see the following posts (do not confuse it with Papal Infallibility which is another linked dogma of Vatican I [Vatican II also confirms this dogma] which takes effects only when the Roman Pontiff meets certain conditions):

The Roman Pontiff: Immunity from Error and Never-failing Faith

Cardinal Manning on the infallible faith of the Pope

Some people claim that acts of idolatry were performed at the Vatican Gardens on October 4th, 2019, and that idols were placed inside a Church. In response to those claims Pope Francis has said:

“Good afternoon, I would like to say a word about the pachamama (mother earth) statues that were removed from the Church at Traspontina, which were there without idolatrous intentions and were thrown into the Tiber.” – (Source).

To say the contrary is calumny, or accusing Pope Francis of telling lies.

The Pope showed gladness after the news that the Pachamama statues, which were thrown into the Tiber river, were found.  The Pope ended his press release with the following remarks: “This is good news, thank you.”.  This also implies that it was good news for the Pope that the statues were found without damage (which was also reported in the same press release).

To Papal accusers: How do you know that Pope Francis and the persons who performed a ceremony at the Vatican Gardens were idolizing a figure (or figures) representing the Pachamama (Mother Earth) or something? Do you know the Pope’s intentions or those persons’ intentions? Are you a god? Have you asked any of the participants what were their intentions? Have you made investigations with those participants? were any of the external acts (or moral objects) performed by the participants intrinsically evil? if so, which ones?  Pope Francis has already said that those figures were there without idolatrous intentions, why do you continue to insist that they did have idolatrous intentions? How can you see the splinter in your brother’s eye, and not see the board in your own eye? You have a board in your own eye for you cannot see the intentions of the persons who performed the ceremony at the Vatican Gardens and yet you accuse them of idolatry.  First ask them what their intentions were (remove the board from your own eye), and then you’ll be able to see clearly enough to judge. Do not judge things that you cannot see. Do not make an assumption or make your thinking as if it were a fact. Do not believe that things have to be done according to your own standards or only according to the traditions known to you. Do not rash judge.

“Ah, but they were bowing down and kissing the ground before those figures during such ceremony, therefore, they had idolatrous intentions”.

So you are judging based on the mere external appearances.  But you cannot prove that any of the exterior acts performed during such ceremony were intrinsically evil.  Many of you are judging based on what you have seen on a video.  You have fallen into the same error that some Protestants brothers have fallen when judging that we worship images.  Do not judge according to the sight of the eyes, nor reprove according to the hearing of the ears (Isaiah 11:3).

“For man sees those things that are apparent, but the Lord beholds the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7).

Let’s review the external acts (moral objects) performed during that ceremony:

Is bowing down before something the intrinsically evil act of idolatry?

Is kissing the ground before something the intrinsically evil act of idolatry?

Is burning incense, lighting candles or the like the intrinsically act of idolatry?

Is dancing before something the intrinsically evil act of idolatry?

Absolutely not. All those acts fall under the second font of morality (the moral object of the act itself) and are not the intrinsically evil act of idolatry.

The act of bowing down is not intrinsically evil.  Otherwise, any man who bows down before his girlfriend in order to propose is, therefore, “idolizing” her. Or when Pope Saint John Paul II used to get off the plane and kissed the ground of the countries he visited during some of his Apostolic Travels, he was therefore idolizing the earth or falling into any type of idolatry.  Of course not.

Burning incense is not intrinsically evil.  Otherwise, when a priest burns incense before an image is therefore idolizing the image.  Not at all.

Also, God does not prohibit the making of images as long as they are not worshipped (idolized), of course. Actually, God Himself made images, we (Gen 1:27). God commanded the Israelite people to make images (Numbers 21:8).  The Ark of the Covenant was made with the images of two Cherubs.  The Holy Temple had many images ordered by God Himself (1 Kings 6:20-30) (1 Kings 6:32 . 35). That being said, kneeling, or bowing down are not necessarily “worshipping” because worship is an interior knowingly chosen act, usually followed by an exterior knowingly chosen act.

For example, a bedridden person can be worshipping (idolizing) something (consenting to the sinful act of worship in his mind and heart), and therefore sinning. A person can sin by a bad intention alone (first font).  And if a deed starts with an interior knowingly chosen act, there is no way for us to know if a person is truly worshipping something, for we don’t have access to that interior information unless it is revealed to us.  We can judge the acts but not the persons. Only God can truly judge the heart (1 Sam 16:7).

Now, to kneel before a person (who is also a type of image), or to kneel before an inanimate image, is not worship in the act itself because this act may not be subsequent to an interior act of intended worship as its end, the person can simply be showing some kind of respect or honor towards a person or object, or towards a person or object that is being represented by such image.

When a man kneels before his girlfriend and kisses her hand in order to propose, it doesn’t automatically mean that that man is “worshiping” that girl. Or a soldier who kneels before the flag of his country, can be showing reverence for his country which is being represented by the flag.  To bow face down to the ground is not the act of worship in itself for it may not be subsequent to intended idolatry.

From Sacred Scripture we learn that Bathsheba bowed face down to the ground before King David and she was not worshipping him (1 Kings 1:31).

The sons of the prophets, who were at Jericho, bowed down to the ground before Elisha (2 Kings 2:15) and they were not idolizing anything.

The Shunammite woman bowed down at the feet of prophet Elisha, and when one of Elisha’s servants wanted to push her away, Elisha “the man of God”, told his servant to leave her alone! (2 Kings 4:27).  After Elisha performed a miracle (resurrected the Shunammite woman’s son), she prostrated herself down his feet again (2 Kings 4:36-37).

Daniel falls prostrate to the ground before the Angel Gabriel and he was not reprimanded for any act of worship (Daniel 8:16-18).

As it’s known, God told Moses to make an image of a creature (a bronze serpent), and to place it as a sign so that whoever was struck by a fiery serpent and gazed upon such image, shall live (Numbers 21:6-8).

The Ark of the Covenant had images of creatures (Cherubs) (Exodus 25:18-20), and we see that King Solomon made holocausts and offerings before the Ark of the Covenant (1 Kings 3:15), but those offerings were to God, not to the images of the Ark themselves.

Joshua tore his clothes and fell facedown to the ground before the Ark of the Covenant remaining there till evening (Joshua 7:6), but his prostration was to the Lord, not to the images of the Ark themselves.

King David danced before the Ark of the Covenant (2 Samuel: 14-16), but his dancing was to the Lord, not to the images of the Ark themselves.

So, it’s clear that God did not prohibit the making of images, but the worship (latria) of anyone or anything that is not Him. Our Church does not teach to worship images but God alone and Pope Francis is well aware of that.

Now, with a similar illustration as explained above and also taught in the Catechism (1752):  Two men perform the same external acts (or moral objects) of bowing down, kissing the ground, burning incense, and dancing, all of these external acts before an image that represents God’s works. The first man does is in order to praise the One True God out of sincere love for Him through the image that represents His work, the other does it in order to idolize that image.  The first man sincerely loves God and therefore retains friendship with Him but the other doesn’t. But since their moral objects were good (not intrinsically evil), there is no way for us to know their intended end, their internal knowingly chosen act.

Even if a person does something with a sincere but mistaken conscience, he does not commit an actual sin and can retain friendship with the Lord; though in such case, the person needs to be corrected.

In Exodus 32 we know that the people were worshiping images because they themselves told Aaron “make us gods” (Exodus 32:1), then they said: “These are your gods, O Israel” (Exodus 32:4).  So, it’s clear that, with such evidence, they were idolizing a molten calf which was a grave sin.  However, have you (the accusers) heard any of the participants in such ceremony claim “These are our gods”?  If you haven’t, you are accusing them of idolatry without any such information as evidence to prove your point.

In Revelation 22:8-9 we read that St. John bowed down but his error was to adore (or worship) the Angel of God.  And that is the sin, to worship, not to just bow down.

Regarding the Pachamama, Pope Saint John Paul II refers to it as “Creation”, “His work”, “Mother Earth”. Not an idol:

“This is the work of God, who knows that we need the food that the earth produces, that varied and expressive reality that your ancestors called the “Pachamama” and that reflects the work of divine Providence by offering us His gifts for the good of man.” – (Homily in Cochabamba, Bolivia, May 11, 1988).

For more information see this post: What do our Holy Fathers teach about the Pachamama?

We can worship the One and True God through His works, or through His creation, but not creation itself. We can celebrate His creation, our common house, of course we can. We can worship God through nature, through music, through art, through service, through singing, etc. There is nothing wrong with that.

{12:7} In truth, ask the mules, and they will teach you, and the birds of the sky, and they will reveal to you.
{12:8} Speak with the earth, and it will respond to you, and the fish of the sea will explain.
{12:9} Who is ignorant that the hand of the Lord has made all these things?
{12:10} In his hand is the soul of all the living and the spirit of all the flesh of mankind.

[Psalm 18] (19)
{18:2} The heavens describe the glory of God, and the firmament announces the work of his hands.

{3:74} May the land bless the Lord: and praise and exalt him above all forever.
{3:75} Mountains and hills, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all forever.
{3:76} All things that grow in the land, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all forever.

[Psalm 32] (33)
{32:5} He loves mercy and judgment. The earth is full of the mercy of the Lord.

[Psalm 95] (96)
{95:11} Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth exult; let the sea and all its fullness be moved.
{95:12} The fields and all the things that are in them will be glad. Then all the trees of the forest will rejoice.

{1:20} For unseen things about him have been made conspicuous, since the creation of the world, being understood by the things that were made; likewise his everlasting virtue and divinity, so much so that they have no excuse.

We don’t know if those persons were performing acts of intended (interior) idolatry at the Vatican Gardens on October 4th. You may say that it appeared to you such thing; okay.  You could also say that it’s your personal opinion that such type of ceremony should have not been performed at the Vatican Gardens; fine up to that extent.  But do not dogmatize your thinking. Do not rash judge.  Know that the Church is indefectible and this is a dogma.

“We must have confidence in the indefectible assistance promised by God to His Church and in the immense goodness of the Lord toward those who love Him.” – (Dilectissima Nobis).

On heretics, Pope Blessed Pius IX taught:

“They obstinately reject and oppose the infallible magisterium both of the Roman Pontiff and of the whole Church in teaching matters. Incredibly, they boldly affirm that the Roman Pontiff and all the bishops, the priests and the people conjoined with him in the unity of faith and communion fell into heresy when they approved and professed the definitions of the Ecumenical Vatican Council. Therefore they deny also the indefectibility of the Church and blasphemously declare that it has perished throughout the world and that its visible Head and the bishops have erred.” – (Etsi Multa, on Further Heresies).

If Her visible head defects by performing grave errors, or by permitting acts of idolatry, then She has failed to be indefectible. Just because those people were prostrating on the ground during that religious ceremony at the Vatican, we cannot thereby conclude that they were not worshiping the One True God through His creation, but only those images; or that they were not praising the One True God by only reverencing or honoring Mother Earth or all creation; or that they were idolizing those images.  Even prophet Samuel judged by appearances and he was wrong (1 Samuel 16: 6-7).

Some claim, “well, the Pope did not have idolatrous intentions, but those other persons did”. Again, unless you have received the supernatural gift to read souls from God, or unless you have asked those persons, you don’t know people’s souls or the intentions of fellow men.  Therefore, you cannot judge their intentions.

Very few (if any) is mentioned that the ceremony was in memory of Saint Francis of Assisi, who in his Canticle of the Creatures said: “Praised be You, my Lord, through our Sister Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us” – (to the indigenous people, this could very well mean “Praised be to you, my Lord, through our Sister Pachamama”).  During the ceremony, Pope Francis consecrated the synod in order to be under Saint Francis of Assisi’s protection.  Very few is also mentioned that the woman leading the ceremony and two of the other participants who approached Pope Francis made a sign of the Cross before him.  Some of the participants kneeled before the Holy Father and made a sign of the Cross.  The leading woman approached the Pope, kneeled before him making a sign of the Cross and the Pope blessed her with a sign of the Cross as well. So this ceremony had Christian elements and that is a sign that they could have already been taught about our One True God and His Church.

Others claim that the Pope sinned of omission because he did not do what they think the Pope should have done after watching that ceremony. They claim “the Pope just prayed an Our Father and left, but did not teach or “correct” those persons”. Besides disobeying or ignoring that the Pope is not to be judged by anyone (except God), they gravely err in accusing Pope Francis of a specific sin of omission. It is not the same to say that the “Pope is a sinner” in the sense that we are all sinners, we all know that, Pope Francis himself has said that he confesses every two weeks. But another very different thing is to accuse the Supreme Pontiff of a specific sin.

In addition, their position can cause scandal to the unlearned faithful or to the weak in the faith for continuing to accuse the Pope of something that only God knows for sure (whether the Pope committed an alleged sin of omission). We cannot know the soul of people.

Based on what the Pope has told us about the Pachamama and his involvement in the ceremony by helping plant a tree with soil brought from the Amazon region, it is very likely that the Pope saw nothing to correct and ended the ceremony with the best words possible, an Our Father.  In the worst-case scenario, perhaps the Pope saw it prudent not to speak or not to read any personal discourse at that moment for his specific reasons. Ecclesiastes 3: 7 teaches that there is a time to silence and another to speak. God and the Pope know.

“But it came to my knowledge that some people actually idolize the Pachamama or Mother Earth”.

As anything in creation, it can become an idol and that is a grave sin.  A car can become a true idol.  We know that since very early in human history, men have been worshipping the sun, the stars, animals, the earth, or creation in general.  But just because some people idolize the Pachamama that doesn’t make the participants of the ceremony at the Vatican Gardens idolizers too.  We cannot judge their intentions as explained above and even more so when the Pope has said that those specific figures were placed without idolatrous intentions.  Furthermore, the indigenous people can be taught that Mother Earth is not a god, but that the God Who created it, and provides for us through it, can be praised through it as Saint Francis of Assisi says in his Canticle.  Saint Francis also says in his Canticle that our Lord can be praised “with all His creatures”.  We can show our gratitude to God through His works.  Again, Pope Saint John Paul II referred to Pachamama as “Creation”, “His work”, “Mother Earth”. Not an idol.

Actually, in the above mentioned homily, Pope Saint John Paul II teaches the local peasants and everyone for that matter (and implicitly corrects anyone who has been thinking or acting the contrary) who (or what) the Pachamama truly is.  Not a god, but “God’s work” or “the work of Divine Providence”.

This is the teaching of God through Scripture, through His Church that man judges appearances but God the heart (1 Samuel 16: 7). We can judge acts, but not judge people (that is, people’s souls) (CCC# 1861) and that we cannot judge the Pope at all (Canon Law # 1404).

No one can judge the Pope, only God, is the infallible teaching of the Catholic Church (Unam Sanctam, Lateran Council V, Code of Canon Law # 1404).

Unam Sanctam also teaches:

“But this authority, even though it may be given to a man, and may be exercised by a man, is not human, but rather divine [power], having been given by the divine mouth [of Christ] to Peter, and to him as well as to his successors, by [Christ] Himself, [that is, to him] whom He had disclosed to be the firm rock, just as the Lord said to Peter himself: “Whatever you shall bind,” [Matthew 16:19] etc. Therefore, whoever resists this authority, such as it has been ordain by God, resists the ordination of God. [Romans 13:2].”

“Moreover, that every human creature is to be subject to the Roman pontiff, we declare, we state, we define, and we pronounce to be entirely from the necessity of salvation.” – (Papal Bull Unam Sanctam, 1302; confirmed by the Fifth Lateran Council, 1512- 1517]. ”

Those participants also danced around Pope Francis and other members of the clergy, then they kneeled before him. Are we going to claim that they were also worshipping Pope Francis or thinking that he is a god? Of course not.  It can very well be a symbol or tradition of gratitude, showing respect and friendship.

One may respectfully disagree with the Pope to a limited extent on his non-infallible teachings or on his decisions of the prudential order (discipline) basing such disagreements on Tradition, Scripture, Magisterium, OK.  A limited faithful dissent is not a sin as long as we continue to be under his authority. But another thing is to accuse our visible head of some specific sin (when he has not even confessed it publicly -and we are not to judge the Pope) or to accuse him of grave errors or grave sins.

– of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor – (CCC# 2477).

Unless the intentions of a person have been revealed to us, then we can see clearly enough to avoid rash judgement.

– of calumny who, by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them. ”

“To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor’s thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way” – (CCC# 2478).  See also (2478-2479).

-Francisco Figueroa.

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3 Responses to Can we judge people’s intentions? (and more on the Pachamama)

  1. Alex says:

    The pope is “good” for his accusers as long as he serves their agenda. See their reactions regarding the German bishops. Then the rare moment comes when they base their tirades on misquotes of either the pope or the Vatican officials without leaving any possibility of doubt but taking arbitrary position of “pontiffs”. While no one in the Vatican really criticized the future possible decisions of the German bishops, only that the procedure of a synod should not be made obligatory as it is on a council, something the German bishops agreed to. But that is enough contradiction for the ultraconservatives to already accuse them of all heinous crimes that they themselves dream all the time. Forgetting that St John Paul II also called on acceptance of the homosexuals for example.

    So to speak, for THEM pope Francis is the useful idiot as long as he serves them and they will throw him under the bus the moment they feel he is no more useful…something they hope to do on the next conclave, to persuade the majority somehow. “to deceive if possible even the elect ones”.

    Pachamama and the rest came as a gift for them, because what better argument to accuse the pope than an “idolatry”, or even “abomination of desolation”. (and I discussed that in length in previous posts).

    In other words, pope Francis is “heretic” when it is convenient for them, and successor of Peter when he will serve them strategically for the time being. Interesting where that will lead to. To election of their own antipope when the next canonical pope will stop those insane games?

    Because the Heaven doesn’t have double standards. The Heaven doesn’t play intrigues, as they do. The Heaven is straightforward. Jesus said it as clear as possible: You are Peter… And if Peter decides to loose more knots, and there is nothing dogmatic in it (as the favorite devotion of pope Francis of Mary under of knots) then “who am I to judge”? That is what cardinals Sarah, Burke, Muller, and several bishops should ask themselves. Not to accuse the pope of “offending” Our Lady when he venerates Her so much in so many ways, and admitted that he also receives some sort of communication from her… Who are they to judge? It is Jesus who appoints him and who judges him, not they. Jesus never told those cardinals and bishops: whoever you condemn as heretic, will be condemned in heaven too…

    As long as Mother Earth goes, the care of the planet, the whole Creation that spreads beyond planet Earth…it is not only the encyclical Laudato Si, it is also the extensive work of St pope John Paul II who also rehabilitated Galileo… Because it is clear the Church made non-dogmatic errors in the past centuries, and now our duty as Catholics in obedience with the Holy father is to repair those gross errors. Jesus never said the planets beyond Saturn don’t exist, or how the Earth rotates, around sun and around galaxy. but that is exactly what Galileo and others were judged for. By people not much smarter than today’s papal accusers, who profane the name of being Catholics.

  2. Matt Z. says:

    In St.Bonaventures work on the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit when he talks about the Holy Spirits gift of Wisdom, particularly about the 7 columns of Wisdom, this is the 6th column:

    “Maturity in Judgment
    The sixth column of the house of wisdom is maturity in judgment; and this is noted, when he says: not judging. There is maturity in judgement, when a man does not judge rashly. Whence in Ecclesiasticus: A wise judge shall judge his own people, that is, over whom he has authority. But if he transcends his authority, he is not a wise judge, but (his) judgment is rash. If he judges without authority, what is he? Certainly nothing. It is also proper, that the judgment of the wiseman have rectitude of zeal and clarity of knowledge. Of the first (it is said): The mouth of the just will meditate wisdom, and his tongue will speak judgement. He is a just judge who is moved by a just zeal, approves all good things and reproves evil ones; but he who does not have upright zeal cannot judge well. Love and hatred pervert judgement. If you hate me you cannot judge me in an upright manner; and why? Because it seems to you, that all the things, which are in me, are evil. — Likewise it is proper, that the judge have clarity of knowledge. In what manner am I to judge well of an unknown thing? Whence when the friends of Job showed him, that he was not just, saying: The just God does not punish the just; and nevertheless he punishes you; therefore you are not just; they wanted to judge of hidden matters. Job, hearing this, responded to them saying: Turn around and come, and I shall not find any wiseman among you. For that reason blessed James says: Not judging, not that a man ought not to judge, by time and place, of a thing, of which he has certitude and authority and upright zeal; but because men judge evil (to be) good, and conversely good (to be) evil. It is better, if I ought to judge of another, that I have a good opinion (of him) rather than an evil one. A man ought to be more prone to clemently excuse, than to judge evilly. Nowadays all are judgers of worthless thoughts. Therefore a man ought not transcend his authority nor judge rashly without rectitude of zeal and clarity of knowledge. Matthew: Do not judge, so as not to be judged. That men judge the interior defects of another and neglect them in themselves, is most high stupidity. (St.) Gregory: “A spirit, as much as it is more curious to investigate another’s things, so much is it the more stupid to know of its own”.”

  3. Alex says:

    As the fires in Australia rage at unprecedented level and make headline news NOT because of MSM policy but because of the REAL situation on the ground, one has to be very stubborn and frankly stupid to deny anymore the climate change effects.

    The ultraconservatives must stop accusing the pope of being leftist, socialist, and apostate for simply defending the LIFE on planet Earth. The same Life that they boast so much to defend as well. It is not ONLY the unborn life, but ALL LIFE including of those who struggle everyday for their bread, for their families’ survival. It is a final time to start thinking of how the families with many kids simply survive, and not only in the opulent America but also in countries like Bangladesh. (and I do not see much or any parish help for kids with 10 kids in USA who kept the commands down to the line).

    That is NOT socialism, that is God’s words in both Old and New Testament. Before preaching Jesus Christ we must feed the poor. Otherwise, He will tell us, “Verily I say to you, I do not know you….go in the fire prepared for Satan and his angels”. Let those fanatics don’t find themselves on the same page as the Antichrist and his master Satan who was murderer from the beginning. Let the start LOVE their neighbor TODAY, and stop thinking of themselves as some self defined better category Catholics.

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