Long-time readers know one of my favorite Catechism sections is #2478:
To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor’s thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way:
Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another’s statement than to condemn it. But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other understands it. And if the latter understands it badly, let the former correct him with love. If that does not suffice, let the Christian try all suitable ways to bring the other to a correct interpretation so that he may be saved.
The second paragraph is lifted out of the Spiritual Exercises, #22.
On the last open thread, Max locked in on Muslims. I know a lot of Westerners treat Islam with great suspicion. And many people in the world, including Muslims themselves, have been gravely harmed by the actions of those who claim to follow Allah and his Prophet.
On the other hand, other people mistreat Muslims simply because they are strangers–part of the great unknown. Blacks, women, women religious, immigrants, rich people or poor–you name it.
Max surprised me slightly with his vehemence on Muslims. I thought he just had a thing on mass murder. I also know Max no longer professes Christianity, but Saint Ignatius seems to have a highly moral approach that’s cited in the Catechism: interpret favorably rather than condemn.
A friend of mine once criticized a mutual friend, calling her passive-aggressive and another label or two. This would be an example of what CCC 2478 isn’t about. To be accurate, I would say my two friends had a feud. My favorable interpretation is that they were both strong, opinionated women who didn’t listen very well to each other. But when they got engaged in a shared project, it was successful.
This thread is open for people other than Max, too. How do you engage favorably interpreting people in your life? What about events? Where do you stumble on this?