Is Fraternal Correction Good or an Evil?

Imagine a sick beggar pleading for help at the door of a hospital run by religious. He is immediately welcomed with words of understanding: ‘Welcome, my friend, our doors are open to all.’ After analyzing his state of health, they soon discover that the poor man suffers from a contagious terminal illness, but that he still has the possibility of being cured. What should be done? For his own good, that of the other patients and all of those involved, it is necessary to isolate him and begin a prolonged and painful treatment. However, the patient does not wish to submit to the necessary quarantine, and even less so, to the difficult treatment involved. So he cries out and complains that he is being put aside, insisting that he does not have the strength to bear such a hard life, and claims that the hospital has failed to provide him with the loving care he had expected…His cries attract the attention of the other patients, as well as the administrator of the hospital.

What reaction would we expect the administrator to have? Would it be an ‘act of charity’ to bring the sick man to a room with other patients and leave him there without appropriate treatment, exposing others to the risk of contagion? Would someone dare to accuse the administrator of injustice or a lack of understanding in demanding that he accept the necessary treatment in order to remain in the hospital? This is a parable that Jesus could narrate today to certain pharisees of the third millennium; bearing the sick on one’s shoulders does exempt anyone from the duty of applying the needed remedies…Read on...