05 September 2011

Pope Benedict on Charity and the Duty of Fraternal Correction

[B]rotherly love also includes reciprocal responsibility, on account of which, if my brother sins against me, I must be charitable to him and, first of all, speak with him personally, showing him that that what he said or did is not good. This way of behaving is called fraternal correction: it is not a reaction to the offense I have suffered but a being moved by love for my brother.

And what if my brother does not listen to me?

First go back and talk to him with two or three other persons so as to help him better grasp what he has done; if despite this he rejects the observation, the community must be told; and if he does not listen to the community either, it is necessary to make him see the rupture that he himself has provoked, separating himself from the Church.

All of this shows that there is a co-responsibility in the journey of the Christian life," the Pope concluded. "Everyone, conscious of his own limits and defects, is called to welcome fraternal correction and to help others with this particular service.

--Weekly Address, Sept. 4, 2011, Castel Gandolfo