Reexamining Pope Francis’ “Who am I to judge?”

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September 22, 2015 by Alex Johannigman

Pope_Francis_meets_Barack_ObamaWho am I to judge?

We’ve all heard that quote thrown around and if you’re like me you’re probably getting sick of the quote being used to downplay the gravity of sin, particularly sexual sins. But I wonder if there’s more to that famous quote than many of us have noticed.

We tend to focus on the word judge. It often gets associated with Jesus’ quote “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” (Matt 7:1) But what if the word that Pope Francis had on his mind when he uttered that now famous phrase wasn’t judge, but I?

Who am I, the sinner that I am, to judge? 

When asked “Who is Jorge Mario Bergoglio?” in one of his earliest interviews with America Magazine, Pope Francis replied:

“I do not know what might be the most fitting description…. I am a sinner. This is the most accurate definition. It is not a figure of speech, a literary genre. I am a sinner.”

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