Started by ·, January 16, 2023, 03:01:47 AM

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The Eighth Commandment, Thou shalt not bear false witness, forbids false testimony in a court of justice, and it also forbids backbiting, detraction, calumny, adulation, rash judgement and rash suspicion and every sort of lying. (Catechism of Pius X, The 8th Commandment, Q 1)

Rash judgement or rash suspicion is a sin which consists in judging or suspecting evil of others without sufficient foundation. (Ibid., Q 5)

Suspecting others of evil is a sin. It is against Justice. (ST II-II Q 60 A 3) Doubts should be interpreted for the best. (Ibid., A 4) The respective gravity of sin for different acts are:

  • Doubt of a person's goodness from slight indications (venial sin)
  • Judging another person's wickedness  with certainty from slight indications (mortal sin)
  • Condemning another person as wicked because of suspicion (mortal sin)

Doubt is very difficult to avoid completely, especially after accumulated experiences in the world, but doubts are interior, unexpressed, and are not used to judge another or condemn them.

Judging and Condemning are mortal sins and easy to avoid by not doing them. If one is in the habit of doing them, then one must recognize this is a grave matter and a vice that should be eliminated using every means possible. These are deliberate and willful acts.

Wisdom will enable one to rightfully judge in all things. Charity is required. We should hate only evil. We have limits on what we can know, and we will be tempted to fill in gaps of knowledge with imagined faults. The temptation to rashly judge and suspect evil should be understood so we may avoid this evil and recognize it when it presents itself.

This is especially relevant in judging those whose statements contain no error, but where one suspects some hidden fault, as occasionally happens on this very forum. Judging or condemning a person because of this suspicion is a grave matter. If evil or appearance of evil were present, it would be evident. One does not appeal to suspicion of motives, personality, or some imagined fault to rightfully discern what is good and evil. Imputation of error should not rely at all on imagined faults.