Rash Judgment, Suspicion, Mistrust

Rash judgment, suspicion, and mistrust are three distinct actions which are often confused with each other. The first is a sin; the second is not only permissible, but often a duty; and the third is merely an involuntary human passion. Padre Quadrupani discusses these three as they pertain to charity.

Concerning rash judgment, he asserts: “It is very difficult for a good Christian to become really guilty of rash judgment, in the true sense of the word, which is that, without just reasons or sufficient grounds he forms and pronounces in his own mind in a positive manner a condemnation of his neighbor.”

Concerning suspicion, he writes: “Suspicion is permissible when it has for its aim measures of just prudence; charity forbids gratuitously malevolent thoughts, but not vigilance and precaution. . . . Suspicion is not only permissible, but it is at times an important duty for those who are charged with the direction and guardianship of others. Thus it is a positive obligation for a father in regard to his children.” Prudent suspicion is employed by guardians “whenever there is occasion to correct some vice they know exists, or to prevent some fault they have reasonable cause to fear.”

Concerning mistrust, Quadrupani explains that it is “an involuntary and purely passive condition, to which we may be more or less inclined by our natural disposition without our free-will being at all involved.”

He advises then, in summary: “Mistrust, suspicion, rash judgment are then three distinct and very different things, and we should be careful not to confound them.”

Quotations from Carlo Giuseppe Quadrupani, Light and Peace: Instructions for Devout Souls to Dispel Their Doubts and Allay Their Fears (St. Louis: B. Herder, 1898).

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