Ὅτε δὲ ἦλθεν Κηφᾶς εἰς Ἀντιόχειαν, κατὰ πρόσωπον αὐτῷ ἀντέστην, ὅτι κατεγνωσμένος ἦν·
- Galatians 2:11 — “When Cephas [=Rock=Peter] came to Antioch, I [Paul] opposed him to his face [yep, that’s literal, “to his face”], because he was being perfectly condemned.”
That Paul uses the Aramaic translation of Peter’s name, Cephas – Rock – is an incisive and well deserved emphasis of mockery against Peter, as being a “Rock” is exactly what he was not being. Peter allowed himself to be reduced to the shifting sands of relativism. That description, κατεγνωσμένος, a perfect passive participle – refers to Peter perfectly continuing to be perfectly condemned. This refers to Peter’s blasphemy of our redemption in Christ Jesus with Peter insisting that that redemption is useless, to be discarded, thrown away, spit on, because we should all instead just follow the old pedagogical punishments of circumcision, you know, for the sake of passing political correctness (like that‘s going to save us). Peter was a bullshit artist, and Paul called him out on it.
In fact, etymologically, to be pedantic about it, κατεγνωσμένος, comes from κατά (against) and γνῶσις (knowledge), so: knowledge that is held against someone. Paul’s judgment against Peter was consonant with God’s Living Truth. Thus, Peter stands condemned, perfectly.
- Paul made the correction and thus became a saint.
- Peter took the correction and thus became a saint.
That’s so very Catholic. We are to correct and admonish one another, helping each other be humble before Christ Jesus. We gotta get to heaven. We depend also on such admonishments. And it was not Paul who was bullying Peter. Peter was abusing his authority.
Not to correct someone is to be condemned to hell, and to assist others in being condemned to hell.
To correct someone is a great act of charity. One risks being smacked down by the one being corrected.
The ugliest thing in the world is when the one being corrected attacks the one correcting. That’s ingratitude that cries out to heaven for vengeance. God is The Authority. God hates abuse of authority.
Remember that in all this Paul is, in his own words, like an abortion compared to the super-apostles. Peter is “powerful”, the one on whom the Church is founded by the Son of the Living God. Peter could have thrown a self-entitled “Karen” tantrum embarrassing himself all the more, and the entire Church. Can you imagine that cataclysmic disturbance this would have caused in the early Church. The Church would continue, but wounded. Thank God Peter converted once again.
But now there’s a law in the Code of Canon Law which can illegitimately but very possibly be used by the powers that be to hurt with brutal hypocrisy those who would correct ecclesiastical superiors:
- Canon 1373. A person who publicly incites hatred or animosity against the Apostolic See or the Ordinary because of some act of ecclesiastical office or duty, or who provokes disobedience against them, is to be punished by interdict or other just penalties.
For a bishop, even the bishop of Rome, to use such a law over against someone who is doing them the charitable courtesy of correcting them for evil behavior or the corruption of doctrine and morals is, to repeat, a supreme abuse of authority, for which, all the more, they need to be called out.
Is it easy for the upper echelon to kick those below them in the teeth, sending them into a coma, disallowing them to preach, to hear Confessions, to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass? This is so very, very cruel. Demonic, really.
Pope Francis once gave good advice about this; “Humility, humility, humility.” Yep.
If one offers a necessary correction, this is, in and of itself, a justified attack on all that which is self-absorbed, promethean, neo-pelagianistic,, neo-gnostic, casuistic, “Karen”-self-entitled entrenchment into rigidity that betrays deeper psychological and spiritual problems… Whew!
The answer by the cowardly hissy-fit crowd is, of course, to say such things about those who instead are just doing their best to be charitable and courteous, whatever the cost.
Those who charitably correct their brothers are not hurt in the least by those who would smack them down. Instead, they are filled all the more with joy at having the opportunity to suffer for the Holy Name of Jesus.
And given all those who are necessarily correcting the powers that be these because of all that needs to be corrected, I’d like to suggest to the powers that be that need correcting not to be so arrogant in slamming those who risk all to make that correction. They are vulnerable, not powerful, and it is an almost inescapable temptation to simply lash out against them. Don’t do it. Just take the correction, and convert. That Christ Jesus will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire is no joke. You should, instead, be thankful, first of all to Jesus who redeemed us all and wants that “the many” be saved.
Be one of “the many.”