I posted a couple of quotes from Fr. X which I interpreted as a slam against another priest whose professional interest includes the study of a famous Italian writer who experienced conversion and received the gift of repentance before he died. The repetitive statements by Fr. X seemed to me intended to impugn the character of the other priest, or to suggest something about his sexual orientation. Why am I talking like this? When regular readers of this blog know who and what I'm talking about? (Because even in this discussion I run the danger of unjustly imputing sins or faults to my neighbor.)
I don't know? Maybe it's because this appears to be a common type of innuendo bordering on detraction, and is exactly why otherwise good priests do not support people leaving a homosexual lifestyle, or are willing to work for, or sponsor a Courage group, and so on. At least that is what I've experienced in my repentance. There were many good priests who did not want their names attached to this stuff because they too might be branded - or have it pointed out they are 'gay-friendly'. Know what I'm saying?
There is also a sense of irony when one person impugns the reputation of another by insinuating homosexual inclination - especially when one's friends or colleagues, or those they support may have struggled with similar issues in their lives. Life is full of double standards, isn't it.
Scandal and gossip.
I came across a piece last night, written in defense of Michael Voris and as a put down to his critics. Former priest Thomas Williams was maligned for saying that Church Militant has some crazy right wing ideas. The author of the blog freely impugns the reputation of the former priest, who is now married to the woman with whom he fathered a child. I never knew the two were married - I knew the priest married the woman - I just didn't know who it was. The author was trying to capitalize on the original scandal when it was discovered the priest fathered a child. The author also went after a priest with a homosexual past. Long story short, he is publishing all of this stuff, old news to many, in an effort to defame and slander their reputation.
I've done that too. When I first began blogging I went after a couple of Catholic writers, without really knowing who they were. I followed the lead of former bloggers whose criticism at times could only be described as detraction, defamation and slander. My criticism was based upon their blog posts, totally ignorant of their personal lives and in one case, the regularization of their relationship and family. They were, and are, all faithful Catholics. Just as the former priest and his wife mentioned in another blog post are faithful Catholics. The husband was laicized, the couple married, and all is well. This is how the Church works - how it has always worked.
Yet Church militant types, engaging in their spiritual combat, use the weapons of the devil to attack those they consider their enemies. The author of the blog defended his post claiming:
Dear readers, just this brief post demonstrates to you the intricate and powerfully monied Americanist establishment within the Church in America. It, along with the usual suspects is now joining hands to attack Church Militant. - TCAn anonymous comment (not mine) objected to the content of the post, writing:
I am appalled at this post. I live in Rome, I work with many people who are giving their all here in a very difficult climate, and I know many of them personally whom you have dragged through the mud. - Anonymous
Detraction and calumny offend against the virtues of justice and charity.
It was a long comment by an anonymous, which I shortened here because it named names. The comment hit the mark, defending the reputations of those the author sought to defame. These posts, so full of gossip and innuendo remind me of a dog chasing his tail. People just begin to look dumb and dumber as they spew such vomit.
I've brought up stuff to try and fling it back - but that's wrong. I am wrong to do that. It's a total waste of time. It's worse when people agree with you or include their own contentious remarks. We don't change people with such tactics - we just destroy our own credibility, and often the reputation of others.
Unquestioning conviction about another person's bad conduct without adequate grounds for the judgment. The sinfulness of rash judgment lies in the hasty imprudence with which the critical appraisal is made and in the loss of reputation that a person suffers in the eyes of the one who judges adversely. - Fr. Hardon
My apologies to everyone for my grievous faults.
. . .
UPDATE: Now there is this poisonous gossip which is repeated here. They keep repeating the stories, with the intention of destroying the reputations and lives of others. Spiteful religious people are dirty.
FROM rash judgments proceed mistrust, contempt for others, pride, and self-sufficiency, and numberless other pernicious results, among which stands forth prominently the sin of slander, which is a veritable pest of society.
I entreat you never speak evil of any, either directly or indirectly; beware of ever unjustly imputing sins or faults to your neighbour, of needlessly disclosing his real faults, of exaggerating such as are overt, of attributing wrong motives to good actions, of denying the good that you know to exist in another, of maliciously concealing it, or depreciating it in conversation. In all and each of these ways you grievously offend God, although the worst is false accusation, or denying the truth to your neighbour’s damage, since therein you combine his harm with falsehood.
Those who slander others with an affectation of good will, or with dishonest pretences of friendliness, are the most spiteful and evil of all. They will profess that they love their victim, and that in many ways he is an excellent man, but all the same, truth must be told, and he was very wrong in such a matter; or that such and such a woman is very virtuous generally, but and so on. Do you not see through the artifice? - Francis De Sales, Introduction, Chapter XXIX