Archbishop Namby-Pamby

Do not judge, lest ye be unpopular: Archbishop Gomez of Los Angeles.

Archbishop Gomez has accused Americans of being angry and “judgmental”, unloading on his poor listeners such a load of commonplaces and fashionable words that they must have thought themselves back in the early Seventies.

“Everywhere in our culture, people seem so quick to condemn. It is very hard to find words of mercy or understanding for someone who has done something wrong,” says the oh so understanding bishop; “many good people out there saying things they know they shouldn’t be saying”, he went on in a rather, well, judgmental way.

“People make mistakes. They sin. Some people do evil that causes scandal and grave harm. We can condemn the offense and work for justice — without trying to destroy the person who committed the sin,” says the bishop again and seems to have found some solid ground, but then forgets what he has just said by stating that “We need to reject every temptation to shame or condemn people. Let us never be the cause of turning someone away from seeking God’s forgiveness and redemption.” Yeah, right. Let us not condemn Pelosi, or Cuomo; it might turn them away from redemption. Coffee, Your Grace? Tea? Some spine perhaps?

I read these words in disbelief, and feel that a couple of words must be said:

1) It is very easy to say “do not judge”. In fact, it is the easiest thing to say. No, let me rephrase this: it is the easiest thing to say when you have no intention of doing your job. No, let me say it better: whenever you hear someone senselessly parroting the “do not judge” mantra, you can be sure that he is trying not to do his job (as a parent, a spouse, a friend, a priest). Archbishop Gomez might profit from the sermon of the young Franciscan talking about “judging” about whom I have written some time ago. As one commenter says, “do not judge, lest ye be judged” is “the first cry of the fornicator”.
I don’t judge you, you don’t judge me, everyone does what he pleases, and everyone feels oh so good. Particularly the Archbishop.

2) If there is a society where no one dares to “judge”, this is the modern Anglo-Saxon world. I do not know any other culture where you can eat yourself to death whilst people encourage you to feel what a wonderful person you are, and even entitled to other people’s understanding; where every kind of sexual perversion is covered under a thick layer of “non-judgmental” attitude; where people behave like adolescents well after getting grey hair and are surrounded by the “understanding” and “support” of all those around them; where there is not even a faint hope that suicide might be stigmatised, and the very probable consequences of such a gesture made very clear.

Elsewhere, if one eats to self-destruction people don’t invent strange genetic predispositions strangely unknown to them; they call one ingordo, that is: glutton; if one is a pervert, they call him a pervert (many names for that, but they all mean the same: pervert); if one abandons his wife of thirty years for a pretty young(er) thing who will be gone in a couple of years’ time they don’t show their “understanding and support” but call him a family wrecker, a child, and an idiot; if one commits suicide, they might have the gut to say a couple of unpleasant truths.

How cruel, says the archbishop. Soooo “judgmental”! What the Archbishop doesn’t consider is that in such societies the morbid (and let me repeat this: morbid) obesity I see around me (and in the US) is purely non-existent (genetic predisposition, my aunt: magna de meno!* says a popular Roman dialect phrase); the strong stigma on sexual perversion helps people to develop in a healthy way; the “judgmental”, rather harsh social control about one’s decision helps prevent people of sixty from behaving like pimple-plagued, cretinous adolescents; the (still) rather strong stigma attached to suicide saves lives.

All this, the archbishop is unable to see. His message is a very superficial, very easy, very popular “do not judge”. That people go to hell because of this mentality, he doesn’t seem to care; he has nothing to say; hey, if you say something it might turn the sinner away from redemption, right?

3) Bishops live in a difficult time: Catholicism is under attack, marriage is under attack, the very basis of Christian morality is questioned, even the seal of confession is now targeted. Is it possible that in all this, the bishop thinks it so important to abandon himself to populist waffle? Shouldn’t he be spending his time sending clear messages to his flock about such “judgmental” things as defending marriage, and Christian decency, and solid values? Is it too much to ask?

4) The bishop completely forgets, nay, willingly obliterates, the difference between private weaknesses and public scandal. Of course everyone is a sinner; of course we all fall short of the mark; of course we see in other people’s private failings – when they come up – a reflection of our own sinfulness and looking at ourselves in the mirror are reminded of how much we need the Lord’s mercy ourselves. But this is nothing to do with the open defiance of Christian values, and if the Archbishop thinks that he can eschew the battle by talking of Mary Magdalen whilst some of his colleagues take the sword of Christ, he is sorely mistaken.

Already that a bishop living in that cesspool of anti-Christian, “everything goes” liberalism that is the diocese of Los Angeles has the effrontery of even saying that people are “too judgmental” is beyond belief. I do not know any other place on the planet resembling Sodom so much as the city of West Hollywood, in the very middle of Archbishop Gomez’ diocese. But hey, do not judge, lest you be unpopular….

Archbishop Gomez would be well advised to wake up, smell the coffee, leave the waffle aside, prepare himself for the battles at hand, and be aware that he’ll have a lot to “judge”.


*”Eat less!”

Posted on July 23, 2011, in Catholicism and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Within the pews and amongst the leadership there seems to be a preferred posture of not offending versus making reference to the truth.

  2. I think this is too harsh on the Archbishop. He was a Priest of Opus Dei before his episcopal ordination, and he was Auxiliary Bishop here in Denver under Chaput for quite a while. Given the proper hermenuetics and knowing the man and his views, I think this might just be a diplomatic way of describing the necessary balance between justice and mercy.

    • Sean,

      I hear what you say and in fact I think that I, as many others, have given far too much credit to Archbishop Gomez for being Opus Dei. But really, in the months he has been in Los Angeles he has attracted my attention only for an obscenely “trendy” Mass, about which I have preferred not to report; and this is the bishop of the Hollywood liberals, and the queens in the so-called “gay” neighbourhoods. Countless souls depend on him saying it as it is, and I assure you they’ll not get the hermeneutic you propose.

      The difference between Chaput and him seems very palpable to me.

      Very glad to change my mind and become a vocal supporter of him when he starts to deserve support.


  3. Instead of directly criticizing his Eminence, perhaps a better approach would have been to use his remarks to point out the differences between critical thinking and judging?

    • Paul,

      the link to my older blog post explains the differences between “judging” a’ la Archbishop Gomez and the sensible Catholic approach to a rather lenghty extent, both in my comments and in the sermon that is linked in my blog post.

      Besides, I think that in cases like this direct criticism is the most valid approach; this blog doesn’t have a very diplomatic approach, nor does it want to. Pane al pane e vino al vino.
      Feel free to disagree, of course.


  4. M,

    If it is the infamous Religious Education Conference Inaugural Mass that you are talking about, then yes it was very “trendy.” The Mass was in early April though, and he was installed in early March. He might not have had no idea what typically happens at this Mass, and he might not have even made any decisions about it if the Office of Education puts everything together for the Mass. I think the real test will be to see how this Mass looks next year.

    • Sean,
      It might be, but he was the Coadjutor Bishop since April 2010 and I can’t imagine that he wouldn’t be in a position to make changes regarding a ceremony due to take place after his installation. This seems to be another exercise in “not judging” the trendiness of that mass.

      I truly, truly hope next year things will be radically different. The man doesn’t seem a supporter of the Tridentine Mass anyway.


  5. Okay, I need to stick up for the Archbishop. I grew up in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. It is, believe it or not, not the kookiest bishopric in the world (the diocese I moved to 16 years ago, and where I still live, was so nutty by comparison that I found it very shocking), but it is pretty bad. This archbishop has the Augean Stables to clean out down there. And you have to remember that the regime of Cardinal Mahony lasted for 26 years. 26 years of ingrained bad habits and other nuttiness are not going to be easy to reverse. You and I would both like to see Gomez go in with guns blazing, but then, God in His wisdom has not given us dioceses to govern. Given the situation, Gomez may be perfectly right to take the approach he is now taking.

    I think we ought to give him time. He was there as coadjutor for a year, but he has only actually been in charge for a few months now.

  6. M.: When your field is so full of tares, you have to be careful not to pull out the wheat along with them. Or, to try out another metaphor: you can’t make an aircraft carrier reverse course in 30 seconds.

    Within the first 24 hours of his reign, I’d like to have seen the Archbishop (a) fire the entire chancery office and start all over from scratch; (b) decree at least one Tridentine Mass in every parish, every Sunday; (c) take a wrecking ball to the concrete-and-scrap-metal monstrosity that presently serves as the cathedral; (d) get back the lovely old St. Vibiana’s (which is now being used as a theater), renovate it, dump holy water over it from a helicopter, and reclaim it. Obviously, none of these things happened — yet. We have to allow for the realities on the ground, whether we like it or not; and we have to allow for the difficulties of salvaging the good while scrapping the bad. In that archdiocese, they are very considerable.

    At this point, Gomez hasn’t been in charge long enough for us to know whether or not he’s any good at running Los Angeles and reforming it. It does seem clear, at least, that his appointment infuriated all the right people, and I still find that encouraging. Let’s give him time. (Look at how long it’s taken Pope Benedict to get as far as he’s gotten in restoring traditional worship — and there is still a long ways to go. But that doesn’t mean the Pope is lying down on the job.)

    • Anita, I must disagree again.

      When a bishop is appointed coadjutor, he is initially flanked to the existing bishop exactly so that he can take charge. Gomez has, basically, started to work on the diocese in April 2010, and I do not think he has many excuses left.

      The argument with the tares is, is my eyes, not very fortunate in this particular circumstance. Whilst it is true that God will, in time, separate the tares from the wheat, it is not the job of the bishop to allow the tares to grow undisturbed in his diocese and encourage their growing. Were it to be that way, no bishop would ever open his mouth on any occasion whatsoever, then there will be many tares in Gomez field in two or five years’ time, too.

      Many other things have, as you say, time. The Taj Mohoney, the structures of the diocese etc. can not be reformed in one day, nor is anyone expecting that he does.

      But with the speech I have examined, Gomez is not just proceeding gradually to a reform; he is positively encouraging the same mentality it should be his job to extirpate.


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