Judging Another's Holiness


I do notice people at church - how they pray - and worship at mass -
They are my brothers and sisters in Christ -
As Saint Paul says - one is an eye - one is a ear - etc -
But it’s hard to judge another’s holiness - how close to Jesus they are -
And it’s hard to judge our own holiness - with who ?
It’s interesting - only God - seems to know these things.

The Pastor - at my church last week - asked everyone - during his homily -
we should be better Catholics - than last year - than five years ago -
He looked at me and I shrugged, as if to say ’ I don’t know if I am ’

Knowledge doesn’t really reflect - one’s holiness.

Any thoughts ?


Then stop trying to. Its none of your business. Worry about your own holiness.


I know of two fairly modern saints who on their death beds were still not sure that they would go to heaven. They doubted their holiness. I think we should all doubt our holiness and use that doubt to spur us on to greater efforts.


Why would you want to?


We ought to be able to see that we are progressing, are we more kind than we were a year ago? More merciful? More generous? Less proud? Less self serving? Less judgmental? Less nosy? More evangelistic? Do we have more peace even in the midst of trials?

Relationships grow or they die. We should see growth in our relationship with Christ in how much more like Him we have become.


To follow their example, of course.

Ask for some friendly advice - during casual conversation.

But everyone at church - truly seem the same - month by month.
And I’m sure that I’m no exception - lol


I’m not sure what you’re expecting to see: a light shining on them from heaven?

The holiest person and the most sinful person at any given Mass probably look exactly the same: just an ordinary person sitting in the pew.


I am sure your intentions are noble Seagull. But really, as you have observed, it is next to impossible to judge another persons holiness, and if we try, they might do or say something that is super easy to take out of context.

As you have also seen, it is hard enough to judge our own holiness. Instead I try to focus not on “my” holiness, rather I try to judge my own actions. For example, I normally shrug my shoulders when someone cuts me off in traffic. This weekend though, someone cut me off and for some reason this time I started tailgating him a bit in response. It made me mad this time.

Not a holy action. Such actions can result in wrecks and even death. It has happened to people before. I admonished myself and said an act of contrition. Then I parked further away from the entrance out of penance.

By mentioning this though in this thread, according to the gospel I have given up any merits I got by doing this. Why?

Mathew 6:5
"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.

I think it is worth it though to illustrate a point. It is a lot easier to focus on someone else than it is on myself, but we are called to do this.

HEB 12:14
Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.

Everything else is just a distraction. I hope this helps.


Better to follow the example of a saint or blessed as we know that they lived a holy life. Some random person at church could look very prayerful but what they are praying about is that their mistress isn’t pregnant or something.

Judging from your posts you get a lot of erroneous information from these casual conversations.

I’m just gong to say it: It is super weird to think that you or anyone is observing someone for signs or changes in holiness.

When a priest is preaching about sin and your mind goes to the person across the aisle who you know is/was having an affair, cheats on their taxes, contracepts (or think they do because it’s a small family) or what-have-you, then you are looking in the wrong place. The person who one should look at first is oneself. “Am I guilty of that sin?” “Have I been in the past; have I confessed, repented?”

The other reason I say that it’s weird is because it’s very uncomfortable to be the one being observed. A couple of personal examples: The woman who came up to me after confession and asked what I confessed because I “was so holy” :shudder: or a friend of my mom’s who asked my mom if everything was okay when I did not go to communion. Maybe I wasn’t in the state of grace and that is no one’s business; or maybe I forgot to keep the fast but then jumping to the conclusion that I might have commit a mortal sin lacks charity. Either way, it’s rude and uncharitable.


Bruised, or maybe you had already received at an earlier mass! This is why people should mind their own business. :confused:


Exactly. Most likely I forgot I needed to assist my mom that day and mindlessly grabbed a snack. But what if I was in mortal sin due to masturbation or something? I reeeeally don’t want people to imagine what sins I’ve been committing.

Also, it can have the unfortunate result in someone going up to communion while in the state of mortal sin just to avoid being gossiped about.


Let 'em gossip. It’s on them, not you.


True. But IIRC some people on CAF expressed that they couldn’t deal with the scrutiny and remember how I could relate after my experience after confession.

A somewhat related topic came up a few months ago and I though about sharing my experiences because some posters said that they never had someone do this like it was rare; I don’t know how rare it is but I also recall thinking it was something that the priest should mention to the congregation or have a blurb in the bulletin because I think it happens more than we think.


Those - are some excellent points.
I have heard it said that " holy " means - to be separated from.
As I think of it - the church does now seem like a people at peace. 75% of them anyways.

“I’m not sure what you’re expecting to see: a light shining on them”
Well, Moses did come down from the mountain - radiating - from his face - lol


St. John of the Cross (I believe) said very wisely that we ought to always assume that those around us are holier than us.


So I have another personal experience with this (you are obviously not the only one who does this sort of thing)…anyway…A gentleman I knew from a prayer group I happened to go to weekday Mass at my parish (different from where the prayer group was located) and I remember him remarking how when he saw me how I had a beam of light shining down on me like it was some sign. Dude, I was just sitting where the light was good enough to read my book lol


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