Author Topic: What To Do About Accusations of Hypocrisy  (Read 1608 times)

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Offline MrsZ

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What To Do About Accusations of Hypocrisy
« on: May 12, 2011, 12:25:52 PM »
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  • If someone has turned from a life of sin and begun following and obeying God's will and the Teachings of the Catholic Church, do others who knew the old sinner have any right to refer to them as a hypocrite?  

    We have family members who deflect our warnings of mortal sin by saying, "Well you did such-and-such.."  20 years ago.  We've both apologized to those in the family younger than us for being a bad example and a scandal during their formative years, but it doesn't change their attitude for thinking that we have no right to say anything about their particular "lifestyle choices."  

    What can we do about this unfairness?  Just accept it as a part of the consequences for doing things we shouldn't have done back then?  Or is there something more important here about trying to explain the difference between being a hypocrite and a penitant?

    Offline Matthew

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    What To Do About Accusations of Hypocrisy
    « Reply #1 on: May 12, 2011, 01:03:29 PM »
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  • To be a hypocrite you'd have to be PRETENDING to be more good than you actually are.

    Another definition is to be holding everyone else to one standard, and yourself to a different (lower) standard.

    But if you have converted more fully to serving God, and your actions are true (what they seem to be, not just for public consumption) and you hold yourself to the same standard you're holding others to -- where's the hypocrisy?

    They are just using any excuse they can to remain in sin.

    Perhaps you could emphasize that you were just as wrong back then, and in fact you have done/are doing penance to make up for those sins. The only thing the young people could have a problem with is that you're taking away "their chance to sin -- you got a chance when YOU were young!" but when you talk about penance, and how sin does permanent damage to one's soul, sin becomes less desirable.

    Matthew
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    Offline gladius_veritatis

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    What To Do About Accusations of Hypocrisy
    « Reply #2 on: May 12, 2011, 01:51:42 PM »
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  • Provided the groundless accusations do not affect the common good...Ignore them...it all comes out in the wash eventually.
    + Vincit veritas +

    Offline gladius_veritatis

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    What To Do About Accusations of Hypocrisy
    « Reply #3 on: May 12, 2011, 01:54:05 PM »
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  • Quote from: MrsZ
    Or is there something more important here about trying to explain the difference between being a hypocrite and a penitent?


    Most of the time, such distinctions mean nothing to those addressed, since they do not really care about truth or justice.  If it seems like it might do some good, and they might actually hear your case and profit therefrom, go ahead and clarify things.
    + Vincit veritas +

    Offline ColdFusion

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    What To Do About Accusations of Hypocrisy
    « Reply #4 on: May 12, 2011, 08:08:48 PM »
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  • Quote from: MrsZ

    We have family members who deflect our warnings of mortal sin by saying, "Well you did such-and-such.."  20 years ago.  We've both apologized to those in the family younger than us for being a bad example and a scandal during their formative years, but it doesn't change their attitude for thinking that we have no right to say anything about their particular "lifestyle choices."  

    What can we do about this unfairness?  Just accept it as a part of the consequences for doing things we shouldn't have done back then?  Or is there something more important here about trying to explain the difference between being a hypocrite and a penitant?


    I know exactly how you feel, and I have accepted it as a consequence for my past behavior.

    My own response has been to tell them that you know better now, and are simply trying to help others avoid the consequences of sin (Depression, STDs, substance abuse, financial ruin, to name a few).   Perhaps mentioning some of their own foolish behavior from "back in the day," reminding them of consequences they themselves have suffered, will make your point.


    Offline Telesphorus

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    What To Do About Accusations of Hypocrisy
    « Reply #5 on: May 12, 2011, 08:17:33 PM »
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  • Quote from: MrsZ
    If someone has turned from a life of sin and begun following and obeying God's will and the Teachings of the Catholic Church, do others who knew the old sinner have any right to refer to them as a hypocrite?  

    We have family members who deflect our warnings of mortal sin by saying, "Well you did such-and-such.."  20 years ago.  We've both apologized to those in the family younger than us for being a bad example and a scandal during their formative years, but it doesn't change their attitude for thinking that we have no right to say anything about their particular "lifestyle choices."  

    What can we do about this unfairness?  Just accept it as a part of the consequences for doing things we shouldn't have done back then?  Or is there something more important here about trying to explain the difference between being a hypocrite and a penitant?


    Right is right and wrong is wrong no matter who says it.  A fat person giving weight loss advice is not very credible, but someone who has lost weight has some standing.

    Obviously there's a difference between condemning someone out of pride and wishing the best for someone else.  There's a difference between warning someone because of one's own regrets and wanting to feel like a superior moral guide.

    Offline TKGS

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    What To Do About Accusations of Hypocrisy
    « Reply #6 on: May 13, 2011, 07:08:14 AM »
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  • Quote from: MrsZ
    If someone has turned from a life of sin and begun following and obeying God's will and the Teachings of the Catholic Church, do others who knew the old sinner have any right to refer to them as a hypocrite?  


    No, MrsZ, they don't have the right; but they will anyway.

    Matthew and the others who have commented are absolutely correct.  There is a difference between hypocrisy and repentance.  Unfortunately, this very real and clear distinction is lost upon most of the world.  That is why Saint Paul refers to "fools for Christ".  Most Catholics who are actively trying to live the True Faith are accused of hypocrisy because they weren't always living the faith.  I have found the people who cry hypocrisy the loudest are, in fact, the ones who today give only lip service to the faith while living a virtually pagan lifestyle.  It is often the hypocrites themselves who make the charges of hypocrisy.  

    You can, and should, defend yourself of the charge only because the charge itself defames the Holy Ghost.  As long as you admit past sins are real and you have repented, the charge does not stick if you're not continuing in those sins.  Those who continue to refer to you as a hypocrite will probably continue to do so.  It is saddening and their goal seems always to be to rouse anger so that they can point to your anger and press the charge again.  It is the devil's work they do.

    Offline Caminus

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    What To Do About Accusations of Hypocrisy
    « Reply #7 on: May 13, 2011, 07:59:21 AM »
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  • Quote from: MrsZ
    If someone has turned from a life of sin and begun following and obeying God's will and the Teachings of the Catholic Church, do others who knew the old sinner have any right to refer to them as a hypocrite?  

    We have family members who deflect our warnings of mortal sin by saying, "Well you did such-and-such.."  20 years ago.  We've both apologized to those in the family younger than us for being a bad example and a scandal during their formative years, but it doesn't change their attitude for thinking that we have no right to say anything about their particular "lifestyle choices."  

    What can we do about this unfairness?  Just accept it as a part of the consequences for doing things we shouldn't have done back then?  Or is there something more important here about trying to explain the difference between being a hypocrite and a penitant?


    This is a common charge by those who desire to justify their sins, it has absolutely no rational foundation.  But at the same time, the public evil that we have committed in the past certainly harms our credibility, even though the actual accusation is incoherent and unjust.  If we were great sinners at one time and have converted to common virtue, it is a wonderous thing in the sight of God, but in the sight of men, they will continue to remember the evil that we have committed while simply noticing that we have become "religious" since then.  A nice, pious crutch, a practical natural benefit in some respects, but lacking any evidence of credibility, especially for superficial people.  

    There is also the strange phenomenon that 'a prophet receives no respect from his brothers'.  This may be due in part because of the intimate knowledge of his failings or because the natural knowledge they possess of their brother controls the understanding.  It's difficult for people who know you on a purely natural level to conceive of you in light of supernatural faith, especially when they are in a state of sin.  

    But our past sins do carry with them evil effects for quite some time and if we have the desire to convert others, we must make heroic efforts at sanctity in order that true unction may accompany our words.  Common virtue does not usually involve the added gifts that effect the good of our neighbors in a particularly forceful manner.  One must take seriously the ascetic life in order to engage in the work of conversion of sinners.  Just as a priest must contemplate and study diligently and must himself be led by the Holy Ghost in a docile manner so that his preaching becomes superhuman.  Banal sermons are the result of the lack of the interior life.  If our neighbor knows of our past sins, their own evil inclincations will bring them to the fore, and then when we engage our close associates who have such knowledge by means of banal sermons, we have little or no effect and sometimes we become the proximate cause of greater evil.  Such is life.  Conciliar catholics have no concept of this.  The assertion that everyone is an evangelizer without making certain proper qualifications and giving proper direction, it is nothing more than an empty catchword.


    Offline stevusmagnus

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    What To Do About Accusations of Hypocrisy
    « Reply #8 on: May 13, 2011, 12:17:43 PM »
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  • If they say the Church is full of hypocrites, tell them there is always room for one more.

    Offline MrsZ

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    What To Do About Accusations of Hypocrisy
    « Reply #9 on: May 13, 2011, 12:56:06 PM »
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  • Thank you for your helpful responses, you've help me to clarify my thinking on this matter. I've been concerned because I think my H is baring the brunt of the attitudes because it's from his family for the most part.  I'm not even that close to what remains of my family, i.e. we don't talk about moral issues for the most part.

    Edited for irrelevant elaboration.  

    Offline stevusmagnus

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    What To Do About Accusations of Hypocrisy
    « Reply #10 on: May 13, 2011, 01:12:59 PM »
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  • For goodness sake! Your Father-In-Law would have probably told St. Augustine he's wasting his time by repenting after his conversion and that he may as well keep on sinning! If St. Peter had listened to your Father-In-Law he would have hung himself alongside Judas after he betrayed Christ or else resigned himself to the life of a miserable reprobate sinner.

    I'd rather be a hypocrite and at least stand up verbally for what I know is right than to not only commit habitual sin but try to justify it publicly. The latter state is worse than the former. Of course the best state is to practice what you preach. But according to your f-i-l, what's the point? If you decide you are on the wrong path and make a change, you are still a "hypocrite" for what you did before you saw the light? That's insane.

    Your f-i-l no doubt loves his youngest son, but cannot separate his natural emotional attachment to this son from his son's sinful actions. Thus he takes his example from the Post-Conciliar Papal/ Episcopal reaction to priests committing greivous sins and causing scandal and does nothing pretending like it doesn't matter.

    The primary reason he reacts so strongly to your husband is because your husband stirs up his own repressed conscience which agrees with what your husband is saying. Your f-i-l is in comfortable denial and wants to keep it that way. Easier to repress his conscience than to tell his son he is on the wrong path and risk upsetting him.

    The "hypocrisy" argument is a red herring and a smoke-screen. I'd try to get the conversation on the level of objective right and wrong and away from subjective examples of weak human behavior. Use the example of Christ if you must use an example.

    Here is a good start. The scribes and Pharisees were hypocrites par excellance as they still spoke the Truth even though they didn't practice it. Christ still said to listen to them.

    Matthew 23:1-8

    Quote
    1 Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to his disciples, 2 Saying: The scribes and the Pharisees have sitten on the chair of Moses. 3 All things therefore whatsoever they shall say to you, observe and do: but according to their works do ye not. For they say, and do not. 4 For they bind heavy and insupportable burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders: but with a finger of their own they will not move them. 5 And all their works they do for to be seen of men. For they make their phylacteries broad and enlarge their fringes. 6 And they love the first places at feasts and the first chairs in the synagogues, 7 And salutations in the market place, and to be called by men, Rabbi. 8 But be not you called Rabbi. For one is your master: and all you are brethren.


    Offline Sigismund

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    What To Do About Accusations of Hypocrisy
    « Reply #11 on: May 13, 2011, 07:16:03 PM »
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  • All of us have sinned in our past.  Almost all of us sinned today.  I am not a hypocrite when i acknowledge this, call myself first and then others to repentance.  Neither are you.
    Stir up within Thy Church, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the Spirit with which blessed Josaphat, Thy Martyr and Bishop, was filled, when he laid down his life for his sheep: so that, through his intercession, we too may be moved and strengthen by the same Spir

    Offline MrsZ

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    What To Do About Accusations of Hypocrisy
    « Reply #12 on: May 14, 2011, 10:09:14 AM »
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  • Quote from: stevusmagnus

    The primary reason he reacts so strongly to your husband is because your husband stirs up his own repressed conscience which agrees with what your husband is saying. Your f-i-l is in comfortable denial and wants to keep it that way. Easier to repress his conscience than to tell his son he is on the wrong path and risk upsetting him.


    I agree.  On a side note, sorry for deleting that part of my message about my FIL.  I felt like it wasn't really relevant after I reread it.  But to address what you've said here, yes, that's what it is.  

     

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