Friday, March 21, 2014

A Pastoral Letter On Blogging From the U.K.

Using social media for abuse or to attack the reputations of other people ... a direct sin against the Eighth Commandment.

Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth described the uncharitable use of blogs, Facebook and Twitter as a “grave matter.”

Using social media for abuse or to attack the reputations of other people was a direct sin against the Eighth Commandment, forbidding people from “bearing false witness” against their neighbors, he said in a pastoral letter released March 19.

“We must exercise discretion, respect others and their privacy and not engage in slander, gossip and rash judgment,” the bishop wrote in the document that was to be distributed in parishes the weekend of March 22-23.

“We must avoid calumny, that is, slurring and damaging people, and not spread abroad their sins and failings,” he said.

The bishop encouraged the faithful to ask themselves “How do I use Facebook or Twitter? Am I charitable when blogging? Do I revel in other people’s failings?

“All this is grave matter,” he said. - Lifted from Deacon's Bench

We who blog cannot avoid sin.

I told you.  Although I suppose people will say it doesn't apply to us, or anyone outside Bishop Egan's diocese.  Just like some people say you can wave off the Holy Father in his off the cuff daily homilies or Wednesday audience talks.  Speaking of ignoring Catholic teaching, I just happened upon a post suggesting Catholics may not be bound to give canonisations the absolute assent de fide we were taught was required.

I really think Bishop Egan knows what he is talking about.

O God, put a guard on my mouth, 
and upon my lips an effective seal, 
that I may not sin by them.

Where words are many, sin is not wanting;

but those who restrain their lips do well. - Proverbs 10:19


  1. Mea maxima culpa.

    I wonder how many will say "See, Blogger So-and-So does exactly what Bishop Egan is saying! Detraction! Calumny! Gossip!" and not see the irony.

    1. That was going to be my next post - I was going to call it "Nelson's List" starring Liam Neesan.


  2. LarryD, how right you are, and if I had not seen your comment, I would have been among the first offenders.

    Those of us who choose to blog have taken on a heavy responsibility, and of course that includes anyone who uses the Internet, e.g. Facebook. I try to be aware that my words could potentially turn someone away from our Lord and if such a person actually loses his salvation, I could be a part of that. You are so right, Terry, it is almost impossible to avoid sin when blogging. We really need to take His Excellency's words to heart. We have to truly think through what we put in our posts and try to look at it objectively, and not just shoot from the hip. Our only agenda, as Catholics, should be to promote the Gospel.

    BTW, I also saw that post about canonizations being not absolutely infallible. I did a search on it, and I mostly come up with blogs with an agenda of one sort or another. But I would wonder why someone would question a canonization of a saint. I know one man who told me a few years ago that if JPII was canonized, he would accept it, but he would refuse to pray to him. And what do you say when hopefully one day you are in heaven and you meet JPII, whom you refused to pray to?

    1. I imagine JP2 would say "welcome", and that person would be joyous. I would *hope* the blogger wouldn't say "Um, I think one of us is in the wrong place."

    2. It isn't just rejecting JPII - it is also a rejection of Paul VI candidacy. There are folks who do not accept St. JoseMaria Escriva, not to mention promoting the cause of Dorothy Day.

      That said, no one has to have devotion to any particular saint.

  3. Re: Canonization of saints, Karl Keating wrote in an interesting article on canonizations where he takes Louie Verrecchio to task for a very disrespectful post he did on the canonization of JPII.

    Keating writes of " long-time theological opinion, which has held that canonizations are exercises in papal infallibility (on the premise that the Holy Spirit wouldn’t allow a pope to declare as being in heaven, and therefore as someone worth praying to, someone who actually is in hell)."

    You can read it here:

  4. If you happen to use Magnificat, there is a nice meditation from Madeleine Delbrel:

    "Christians are small people ... They do not argue about the will of God in the events that happen, nor do they argue about what Christ has commanded them to do, so that in these events they may themselves, for their part, do the will of God."

    I want to try harder to be small.

  5. St. Therese of Lisieux, Little Flower, pray for us. (I'm pretty sure her canonization was valid)

  6. St. Therese has sent me many flowers that were roses, even the color I've asked for, at times. The most beautiful have the most thorns, believe it or not!!. I suppose that is a very small part of the "communion of saints"?? God bless you Terry and ALL your readers, loved-ones, etc..


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