The Pope on calumny.
"We are all sinners; all of us. We all commit sins. But calumny is something else. It is of course a sin, too, but it is something more. Calumny aims to destroy the work of God, and calumny comes from a very evil thing: it is born of hatred. And hate is the work of Satan. Calumny destroys the work of God in people, in their souls. Calumny uses lies to get ahead. And let us be in no doubt, eh?: Where there is calumny, there is Satan himself. "We have to be careful in online exchanges. Though most of us wouldn't think of telling lies, detraction can be a great danger... disclosing information others may not know about another, and so on. Especially in our private exchanges with one another. We can instigate others, stir one another up. Derision is a real danger as well. That can entail rash judgement, false assumptions, and calumny.
"We pray to Our Lady to protect us, and in times of spiritual turbulence the safest place is under the mantle of Our Lady. She is the mother who takes care of the Church. And in this time of martyrs, she is the protagonist, the protagonist of protection: She is the Mother. (...) Let us state with faith: Mother, the Church is under your protection: Care for the Church. '" - Pope Francis 4/15/13
As the Pope said, 'calumny uses lies to get ahead'.
How do bloggers get ahead? There is no ambition in blogging, right? We aren't interested in hits and followers. We aren't interested in Facebook friends, or amassing Twitter followers. It's not like stats can increase our standing online amongst Catholics. Or increase our income. Or, much less, garner the esteem of others.
We know that when we denigrate another we aren't really setting ourselves above anyone else. We can't disparage others to demonstrate our perfection, our fidelity, our virtue. We only do that kind of stuff to build up the body of Christ... to alert the sheep that the wolf is near. It's our Christian duty, right?
From the behaviour of the accusers, Pope Francis then turned his attention to the accused. Stephan, he noted, does not return falsehood with falsehood: "He does not want to go that way to save himself. He looks to the Lord and obeys the law", being in the peace and truth of Christ. - ibid
I went to confession on Saturday. God help me to do good, to say the good things people need to hear, things that will really help them. O Lord! Put a guard on my tongue, and upon my lips an effective seal, that I may not sin by them.
If you blow upon a spark,
it quickens into a flame
if you spit on it, it dies out;
yet both you do with your mouth.
Cursed be gossips and the double tongued,
for they destroy the peace of many...
Take care not to slip by your tongue
and fall victim to your foe
... waiting in ambush. - Sirach 28
Photo: I read somewhere that when ever there is an image of Our Lady near by, the Pope goes to her, like a little boy running to greet his mother. I thought that was charming.