Honest Criticism


#1

One a number of threads I have found myself criticised in ways I felt were inappropriate. I tried to think of an analogy concerning the difference from honest criticism which is an essential part of learning to dishonest criticism which is based on the ego of the person criticising.

If we were entrusted to prepare a meal for the king. Our life itself was at stake because the king was suspicious and paranoid of being poisoned.

We both go to examine the meal when it is laid out on the kings table. I would taste each dish and check that the cutlery and glass were in their proper places. I would make sure that the food was tasty, prepared and presented well and unpoisoned.

Then the critic comes. An honest critic would do exactly as I have done study the entire meal taste the dishes and examine the presentation of the meal. If he found a dirty fork he would comment on the fork so that it could be replaced but pass the meal.

A dishonest critic cares nothing for the meal but is only interested in finding an error. A crack in a dish they will yell and scream about the crack but never taste the meal. They will condemn everything based on the crack they found.

In the meantime you have been complaining to the king for two years or twenty years that the china must be replace and you specifically placed the dish with the crack directly in front of the king so that it would be seen to assist the king to recognise his need to replace the china.

You explain to both critics your reason for placing the crack in front of the king and you accept responsibility for the kings reaction the honest critic will recognise that based on your explanation the crack is actually place in an intelligent position to achieve the end you have in mind. The dishonest critic continues to scream about the crack and wants your head cut off in the process.

This form of criticism is exactly the type that has lead to all the cisms in the church. One sentence one phrase one law is pulled out from the rest and criticised until it is shown as error because they never allow anyone to see the big picture. It is true with misunderstandings from the bible as well as church teaching. They never admit to paradox which explains two laws that seem to be opposite. Two ideas that seem to clash so they condemn everything.

The crack in the plate is real life. It has been pointed out to all the people who are the kings that it needs to be replaced. Until the person the king sees for themselves the need to replace the china their way of life there will not be change. When demonstrating one need it is a writers privilege to use contrast and stark reality as a background to show in a greater light a different reality.

The only real intention of the critics who only see the crack and do not judge the entire meal is one their fear of being held responsible and the other is their ego to promote their role as critic to the king even if it costs the lives of many honest cooks the cooks are the saints and lovers of the eternal truths. Some may even have the desire to eliminate one cook to promote another who will poison the king.

If any critics here believe there are no cracks in the dishes in our cultures and societies they are asleep. Pointing out the cracks also has purpose. I think it is very unfortunate that anyone must explain these concepts to other catholic people. But here honestly there are both honest and dishonest critics.


#2

But the plate is empty. There is nothing on it, but I see you are well dressed for the dinner.


#3

Here’s an honest, objective, outsider’s opinion:

You come off as proud and a bit condescending. I don’t think you are, that’s why I’m posting this. Just like saying,

[quote=]An honest critic would do exactly as I have done…A dishonest critic… is only interested in finding an error… they will yell and scream.
[/quote]

Also comparing them to schismatics… And coming up with an elaborate metaphor to rebuke them with… Remember all of the saints were intensely humble, and beared wrongs so patiently that they allowed others to martyr them. Jesus especially, did not yell at sinners, but died for them.

(also I have posted something in anger on CAF once, and I still regret it and pray that the OP doesn’t think badly of me. I apologized but am still concerned.:frowning: My rule now is to triple read everything I’m about to post. And editing, lots of editing!;))


#4

Thought this was worth repeating here:

Blessed Mother Teresa gave the Missionaries of Charity some guidelines for being humble – guidelines that are helpful for all of us:

  1. Speak as little as possible about yourself.
  2. Keep busy with your own affairs and not those of others.
  3. Avoid curiosity.
  4. Do not interfere in the affairs of others.
  5. Accept small irritations with good humor.
  6. Do not dwell on the faults of others.
  7. Accept censures even if unmerited.
  8. Give in to the will of others.
  9. Accept insults and injuries.
  10. Accept contempt, being forgotten and disregarded.
  11. Be courteous and delicate even when provoked by someone.
  12. Do not seek to be admired and loved.
  13. Do not protect yourself behind your own dignity.
  14. Give in, in discussions, even when you are right.
  15. Always choose the more difficult task.

And this, from DBT:


#5

“The sufficiency of my merit is to know that my merit is not sufficient.” — St. Augustine

One common quality of Saints is none of them ever thought he is a Saint.
All Saints honestly considered themselves as sinners. They never boasted their works.


#6

My dear friend

I think there is too much criticism often. I’m of the school of thought that the faith should be something we learn by living it. We need the magisterium when doubts arise though. Too many people have tons of knowledge but do not incorporate it into their life fully or properly. This leads to a distorted or lacking understanding of the faith. Knowledge is only good if it leads one to a greater love of God. If we spend all our time pursuing knowledge and that is the essence of our faith then we have it wrong. What our faith is supposed to lead us to is love of God , neighbour and self. If we fail to love as we ought then the knowledge has not bore fruit as it should. A very prayerful life filled with good works should be the fruit of our knowledge. To be bickering over insignificant things and arguing is not the faith or how we should practise it. Knowledge and healthy debate is good. Don’t get me wrong. But the knowledge is meant to help us live our faith. The faith to me is not the knowledge only. The most important part is what the knowledge produces. If the knowledge helps us to love more then it is good. But to love more the knowledge must be incorporated into our lives in a very real and substantial way. A deep interior life is needed also. Sanctity should be our goal, and all knowledge no matter of what truth must be directed at helping us achieve our goal of sanctity- to be more fully human and loving. We are not meant to just argue our faith, we’re meant to live it. The only real effective argument of the faith is to show it in ones life.

Only 3 things matter if we want to go straight to heaven- be charitable, merciful and don’t judge. Knowledge teaches us these things but to do them we have to work hard on our spiritual life. We have to live them, not preach them only. The faith is something we are meant to live. Many people have got it wrong I think. They’ve focused hard on knowledge when what is needed is to use this to help us love more - love God, neighbour and self. If we do this we are using our faith. The better we do this the better we use our faith. Faith is a way of life -not jst knowledge. Understanding and appreciation of the faith come from holiness, sanctity. Our goal should be sanctity and our efforts to learn anything true should be directed at this goal.We can debate but if its a slinging match we have much to learn.

I need to learn most of all. Preach by example - share the faith by the way I live.

God bless you and pray for me please:thumbsup::slight_smile:

John


#7

The Blessed Virgin Mary was perfect there is no other saint who was.

Saints are people they make mistakes. Most saints spent time in purgatory after death.

Jesus and many saints did call people names and yell at people and demonstrate anger. I read where Jesus took a whip and called people names for turning His Father’s House into a den of Thieves. I also read where He called Scribes and Pharisees tombstones, walking dead, he called people spiritually blind and deaf etc.

You are still looking at saints through rose colored glasses but it is distorting your vision.

Every saint was completely unique and not all saints let themselves be martyred. We have saints who lead armies and caused wars. Like St. Joan of Arc. God’s plan is not just for the meek. There is more then one statement in the beatitudes and almost no saint was known for possessing all the beatitudes perfectly except for the Blessed Virgin. Only she was full of grace.

Jesus said not one stroke or dot of the law will be overlooked. That is the purpose of the purification of purgatory to perfect the flaws and heal the wounds left over from sin that has been forgiven.

The psalmist says of the Blessed Lady that she is like a lily amongst thorns amongst all the daughters. That means she is absolute beauty while all other persons to God are a suffering a thorn including the saints. I personally believe that St Joseph’s only sin was original sin and that he was never guilty of personal sin but even original sin is a suffering to God’s Holiness.

It is said of St. Charles Borremeo that he never committed a mortal sin in his life. He claimed to have intact all his baptisimal graces. But he never claimed to be free of venial sin. No biography of or omnibus of any saint I have read ever claimed that the saint was free of venial sin.

St Augustine when criticing a very poor philosopher said that his arguments were based on idiotomous. Calling the writer an idiot. Holiness is not about holding you head down and becoming a doormat for others. Sometimes it is just having the courage to speak out against lies that everone else has come to believe is true. Sometimes it is admonishing the sin of all mankind. St Margaret of Cortona considered to be the equal of St Francis drove everyone crazy yelling and screaming her sins out to God all night keeping people awake. In my reading of the lives of the saints most were considered weird or odd or crazy until they found a promoter. Who could inform people that they were misinterpreting the persons behavior that it was really Holy. Suffering criticism just or unjust is a normal pattern even for saints.


#8

I’ve asked you before for a reference for this. I have always understood that canonized saints by definition were declared to have gone straight to heaven after death without a stop in purgatory.

The fact that Jesus and many saints spoke strongly does not give anyone the right to act without charity on the excuse that it’s for the other person’s good.

Anyone who aspires to sainthood would do well to concentrate on humility and charity, and all the rest will fall into place quite naturally after that.

Betsy


#9

My dear friend

My understanding is that a Saint is someone declared to be in heaven officially by the church and someone worthy of imitation. They must excel in all the virtues and practise heroic virtue in this life. Their whole life is studied in the canonisation process to determine if their worthy of canonisation, and miracles must be given by God to testify to their cause.

Saints are not perfect. This makes them all the more admirable. A goal that is often achievable. We learn you can turn from sin and scale the heights of sanctity. I don’t belive the church teaches that all canonised saints went straight to heaven. It’s very likely many undergo a purification before this. It depends how perfect your love is. If it is lacking a purification to perfect it is needed. I don’t think the church has defined that no Saint went to purgatory. If not, it’s open to debate.

I see nothing wrong with what your saying. The church tells us we are to strive to become saints. If we don’t we’ll be in purgatory longer to finish the job. We’ll have less happiness in heaven. But once in heaven we’re saints.

I think it’s a great subject to discuss the science of the saints. There is no better subject when you consider what a saint is. If the purpose of our life is to know, love and serve God in this life, then enjoy Him forever in the next then learning and talking about becoming a saint is paramount to this. Becoming a Saint should be the object of our lives. But we need to also look beyond this and realise that a Saint is someone who is very human and loving. To become a Saint is to become the person God always intended us to be, to become more fully human. We may not quite get there but it’s our goal. I think we should rember that to be very human and loving is Gods will for us and this is what a saint is. I’m not trying to simplfy it. That’s my opinion. I’ve made mistakes before and can stand corrected.

Keep talking about sanctity. It’s a great subject. It’s the most important thing we can do with our lives. The answer to all the worlds problems is our personal sanctification.

God bless you dear friend and pray for me please:thumbsup::slight_smile:

John


#10

Finally I find something to agree with. Saints are declared by the church to both be holy and in heaven and that we can obtain first degree miracles by their intercession. This does not mean they did not commit venial sins. It does not mean they did not spend time in purgatory. People in purgatory are all saints the holy souls in purgatory. They will definitely be enjoying the beatific vision someday. We cannot claim that for sure.

It is the fact that saints were only human that makes the prospect of becoming a saint possible. If they were as perfect as many here believe then we would have no chance. There is an eternity of distance between venial sin and mortal sin.

Canonized saints are people like ourselves who have been chosen by God to manifest or magnify a particular virtue, truth or moment in Our Blessed Lord’s life. St Francis for example exemplified the moment in the life of Our Blessed Lord when He drove the money lenders out of the temple. This is the guy who stripped naked in a court of law to demonstrate his contempt for material possessions and the worlds love of avarice.

Saints perform heroic virtue because they have to. God brings them into situations that force them to chose to practice a virtue to inspire others. He does the same with us but usually we think of it as normal life because we werent forced to face tremendous pressures. Some of us are. Many persons have practiced heroic virtue and feats of bravery while they are just ordinary people but may seem like saints to us. Most saints recognize they have been chosen for a special mission or ministry at some point in their lives I doubt if many of them would have chosen the path they walked had they known the price in advance. We do things for love we would never do using our common sense. God often expects His chosen ones to go beyond sanity.

One other thing is the concept of not judging. I really dont understand what people mean by that today. If they mean we normally never know if someone was definitively sent to Hell or Heaven that may be true but the canonization of Saints would show that it is not always true. Judging in everything else is necessary and important to practice with prudence. The first thing we need to judge is God. We alone must decide if God and the picture of God we have developed is worth living and dying for. Until we judge this for ourselves we are nothing. Our gift of faith is useless until we decide that God is worth living and dying for. We must judge who can be trusted who is more capable to complete a project etc. All of life is judgements. We judge temptations their pros and cons. We judge and witness all that happens in life. What is good behavior from bad behavior in our children.

Some would say we cannot judge whether a sin is mortal or venial in anyone else. I would say that is wrong because there are some sins that are always mortal sins. The normal requirements are waived. For example abortion is always a mortal sin so is murdering a catholic priest. It does not matter if the person has knowledge about the sinful nature of these acts. That is also church teaching.

I would even go further and say that often we are mistaken even in judging the venial or mortal sin parameters in our own life let alone others. Often people see their mortal sins as venial and others venial sins as mortal. Some people see even their venial sins as mortal.

What type of parent would you be if you didnt judge whether it was wise to leave your children with a babysitter convicted of sexually abusing children. We judge to take a job or turn it down for a better job or one with more future potential. It is impossible to live without judging, but judge prudently.


#11

My dear friend

It’s not my intention to be argumentative but you make some god points I agree with. We must note that there is subjective and objective sin. If one is completely insane and kiils a priest one sins objectively but not subjectively, hence no guilt of sin. Abortion is not always sinful. It comes down to the intention. If the intention was the direct killing of the unborn it’s more than a sin, an abomination. But if the objective was to save the mothers life it’s not a sin. Howevere one would hope the mother would make the sacrifice.

Judging is to condemn as guilty of sin. Many saints tell us not to judge. Jesus said not to judge because that will set the standard for our judgment. I think this is just a misunderstanding of the biblical meaning of the word.

I agree with you on most other things. Certainly I agree on the universal call to holiness which the church teaches. We are all called to be saints.
Some saints have special missions but all can be among the greatest saints mission or not.

We all need to acknowledge this need to see our faith as not just a bunch of great teachings but something to live. Living the faith enlightens us as to it’s meaning. Faith is learned by experience and not just by studying and acquiring knowledge for debate and argument. It must be lived , the more we live it the better we understand it. I agree that too many people pursue knowlegde and don’t implement it into their lives fully. We learn about God through experience of God, not books and study. To know God we must contemplate him in prayer and experience him.

That’s my thoughts. Please keep talking about sanctity. Its sorely needed here, especially by me.

God bless you dear friend and pray for me please:thumbsup::slight_smile:

John

I’m off to bed now zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz


#12

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.