Thomas A Droleskey
Those who are familiar with the work of this site know that I abhor "chat rooms" and other forms of "instant communication" as they are gigantic breeding grounds for gossip and rash judgment, passed upon others by people who do have never met the parties "judged" to be guilty of various personal moral offenses and who are possession of not a single, solitary fact concerning those "condemned" parties. These judgments are passed upon all manner of Catholics all across the ecclesiastical divide without any evidence at all and without even the slightest understanding of the dictates of the Eighth Commandment concerning what constitutes rash judgment, backbiting, slander and detraction.
This is from the Baltimore Catechism's brief treatment of the dictates of the Eighth Commandment:
Q. 1311. What are rash judgment, backbiting, slander and detraction?
A. Rash judgment is believing a person guilty of sin without a sufficient cause. Backbiting is saying evil things of another in his absence. Slander is telling lies about another with the intention of injuring him. Detraction is revealing the sins of another without necessity.
The tongue and the pen are powerful weapons to injure our neighbors. All but a few of us are guilty of committing these terrible sins against Charity and Justice. Some of us have committed them frequently and unthinkingly as they have become ingrained patterns of habit in our personal conduct. Some Catholics struggle against these sins throughout their lives. Others don't even struggle, don't even mention these sins against Charity and Justice in the Sacred Tribunal of Penance, lashing out in bitter anger whenever a good rumor blows their way, denouncing people they have never met for personal faults they will not know for sure are true until the General Judgment of the Living and the Dead on the Last Day.
The internet (e-mail, chat-rooms, other forms of instant communications) has made possible the commission of these sins as never before. Yes, me, the man of a million words, is rendered almost speechless when
As noted two days ago in Sick From Head to Toe, Catholics such as Stephen G. Brady, the President and founder of Roman Catholic Faithful, Inc., had cold, hard facts about various conciliar "bishops" and priests and presbyters at their disposal. Facts. Not suppositions. Not innuendos. Not rumors. Facts. These facts were presented to the accused parties before they were made public. It was only after superiors failed to act to protect the spiritual and physical good of the souls who had been abused by those "bishops" and priests and presbyters that public revelations of their crimes were made.
Saint Thomas Aquinas taught that is our duty to remonstrate with our clerics publicly if private admonition to correct abusive behavior is not given a fair hearing and results in a hardening of heart and a denunciation of those who are understandably exasperated with their shepherds for refusing to protect their sheep when they have been victims of clergy-sponsored injustice and rank intimidation:
"It must be observed, however, that if the faith were endangered, a subject ought to rebuke his prelate even publicly.
"Article 2: Fraternal correction is a matter of obligation (precept) out of charity for the sinner. And if the order of fraternal correction has been observed (beginning with private admonitions until there is no other recourse for the sake of the faith than to publicly proclaim the prelate), to do so for the sake of the faith can be meritorious."
I rather tend to think that Saint Thomas Aquinas was correct on this matter. After all, what were victims of the intimidation of corrupt and/or perverted "bishops" who were protecting perverted "priests" and presbyters in the conciliar structures supposed to do? Just shut their mouths about grave abuses that kept going on for years because members of the conciliar "hierarchy" and their equally corrupt "apparatchiks" believed that there were beyond criticism and rebuke? Those who went "public" on these matters had just cause to do. Indeed, it was a matter of simple Justice that they did so to protect other souls from the clutches of these ravenous wolves who cared about their reputations more than they did about the good of the sheep.
That having been noted, however, no one but no one is "free" to make any allegations of moral turpitude against others, especially members of the clergy, unless they are in possession of absolute proof of that turpitude and have done their due diligence, as outlined by Saint Thomas Aquinas, to get them to reform their lives and/or to make sure that they are not in a position to hurt others again. "Discussions" in chat rooms and in e-mails about this person or that person's alleged moral crimes based upon nothing but rumor and innuendo and supposition and appearance are gross sins, objectively speaking, against the dictates of the Eighth Commandment.
Putting aside the differences on this or that point of doctrine and pastoral praxis that may cause us to jump up and down like Yosemite Sam now and again during this time of apostasy and betrayal that might be expressed heatedly rather than reflectively, one of the singularly worst aspects of "instant communications" is how it gives rise to instant sins, how people feel free to castigate the moral lives and personal, subjective intentions of those whom they have never met without any foundation in fact whatsoever. So many Catholics believe that they are "free" to disseminate baseless speculation about the moral lives of others because they have "heard" "something" that "seems to make sense." This is not only insane. It is grievously sinful.
This is what Father Belet wrote in The Sins of the Tongue: The Backbiting Tongue:
Other people do not only listen to backbiters, they spur them on to continue their stories by their eagerness in hearing them. They say, "Finish relating the details of what your started saying about that person; I'm anxious to hear the truth. I had already heard something about it, but it was a bit vague. Tell me everything!"
Still others softly entice and incite backbiters, saying, "People are saying such things about you, and you remain silent? How strange!" This provides a perfect occasion for the backbiter to freely give vent to all the bile that is in his heart. Those people are the guiltiest of all, for they take delight in the evil they hear spoken about others.
Thus, both the backbiter and his listener have got the devil in them, one in his mouth and the other in his ear.
Normally, people who are so credulous as to believe all they hear spoken in this manner will quickly manifest anger and impatience, hearing word upon word, insult upon insult, outrage upon outrage. From this stem unending arguments and enmities: the bonds that hold men together are broken, charity is snuffed out, sincere affection and mutual trust vanish. From this also stems an unbridled desire to do harm, urging us to reveal the weaknesses of others. Hidden beneath a cloak of kindness, we disguise vice with a semblance of honesty and start thinking that it is no longer vice. (Father Belet, The Sins of the Tongue: The Backbiting Tongue, pp. 64-65.)
Sort of sounds like the behavior of so many Catholics on "chat rooms" today, does it not? Sort of sounds like our own behavior at times, does it not?
Look, I am no angel. Like the fictional Ralph Kramden, I have a BIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIG MOUTH!! Perhaps one of the biggest mouths. I have made rash judgments and engaged in backbiting and have passed along information about others that has been passed along to me. I have many sins against the Eighth Commandment for which to make reparation. Some might even consider me a "hypocrite" for daring to write about this subject. No, I am just a weak vessel of clay who has indeed let his undisciplined tongue slip into the aforementioned sins. What can I do but make reparation for my sins as I seek more fervently to amend my life?
Part of the reparation that I have had to do in this regard is to suffer from rash judgment and backbiting and slander committed by others against me, including one story back in the 1990s that anticipated my having a daughter by about five years before Lucy's birth that had no foundation in fact whatsoever. How does one deal with such insanity except by forgiving those guilty of defaming him in the hope that those he had defamed or made rash judgments about will forgive him as Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ forgives each of us in the Sacred Tribunal of Penance?
Sins of the tongue are sometimes committed thoughtlessly. We might go "oops!" almost as soon as some careless remark passes our lips. Sins of rash judgment or backbiting or slander committed with the pen (or the computer keyboard) require a bit more thought and reflection, although God alone, of course, knows the internal dispositions of each soul, not us. Even for a big mouth who has tried to learn from his mistakes of the past (emphasis on tried as I am still trying, sometimes not very successfully, to learn from my mistakes of the past), I am truly astonished at the level of incomprehension of the gravity of making accusations about the moral conduct of others, without any personal, first-hand knowledge of that conduct and without making any effort to ascertain from the accused parties as to whether the conduct is indeed true.
Moreover, I continue to be absolutely amazed by the fundamental lack of Charity that exists among Catholics who hold different positions during this time of apostasy and betrayal. It is not to minimize the importance of those differences to see in our fellow Catholics the image of the Divine Redeemer Himself, people who are trying their best to figure out how to deal with unprecedented occurrences in the history of the Church. I remember well enough, my friends, that it took me far too long long to realize that the authority of the Catholic Church cannot give us false and ambiguous doctrines or defective liturgies that degenerate into farcical spectacles that are offensive to Our Lord and to the souls for whom He shed every single drop of His Most Precious Blood on the wood of the Holy Cross. (In A Nutshell summarizes this matter in succinct form as references are provided to longer articles dealing with Joseph Ratzinger's lifelong warfare against the Catholic Faith as an apostle of one condemned Modernist proposition against another.) Who am I to throw stones at others, worse yet to issue angry screeds to denounce others and to run their names through the mud?
Thus it is that although I disagree strenuously with those who defend the legitimacy of Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI's bogus claims to be the Vicar of Our Lord Jesus Christ on earth, I am not going to denounce them personally. I pray for them. I am not going to call them nasty names. I don't even respond to most of their criticism of my work. I simply will their good. I hope and pray for a happy reunion on the Last Day at the General Judgment of the Living and the Dead. I would not refuse to speak with them if I saw them some place. Where does Our Lord tell us to denounce our fellow Catholics with venom and vitriol as we speculate rashly and in public about their alleged moral faults even though we do not know for sure that what we are saying is true?
Was Pope Leo XIII, conscious of the differences about Faith and Morals that existed among men in the Nineteenth Century, wrong when he wrote the following as to how we are to treat others no matter the differences that exist as we seek to
We can, certainly, and should love ourselves, bear ourselves kindly toward our fellow men, nourish affection for the State and the governing powers; but at the same time we can and must cherish toward the Church a feeling of filial piety, and love God with the deepest love of which we are capable.
We must defend the truth as we know it to be without resorting to the ad hominem, without thinking the worst of others, without spending our days "chatting" in "chat rooms" as one sin after another is committed against the Eighth Commandment. How much time is wasted in the sin of gossiping about others when we could be spending our time before the Most Blessed Sacrament in prayer or praying more Rosaries to console the good God and to make reparation for our own many sins, especially those against Charity.
How can so many Catholics, including those who understand that Ratzinger/Benedict is nothing other than an antipope whose public actions demonstrate that he is an enemy of God by esteeming the values and symbols of false religions that are loathsome in the sight of God, treat each other with so little mercy, treat others so callously, so heartlessly and with such lack of forgiveness? How can our souls be pleasing in the sight of the Most Holy Trinity when we are prone to nurture grudges and to think the worst of others at all times and without cease? How can our souls be pleasing in the sight of the Most Holy Trinity if we think we can refuse to acknowledge the humanity of others by looking the other way as they cross our paths, worse yet if we sneer at them and make it clear by our facial expressions that we hold them in contempt?
So many traditional Catholics live their lives in anger. The communications that many of them send are filled with hate and venom, peppered with the belief that they are able to discern and then to pass judgment upon the internal dispositions of the souls of others. It's almost as though they are looking for someone to strike out against, looking for someone to castigate and condemn, looking for someone to denounce to the whole world.
There are even instances when men who have the charism of Holy Orders and who are in agreement that Joseph Ratzinger is indeed an antipope refuse to speak to each other, sometimes using all of their waking moments to denounce those they might have been associated with in the past. Some of this centers around a refusal to accept the validity of the episcopal line of the late Archbishop
Pierre Martin Ngo Dinh Thuc (Father Stepanich on the Thuc Line Consecrations).
How can the sheep, who look to their shepherds for direction and guidance, treat each other with Charity when their shepherds are frequently at war with each other without even doing their brother priests the simple courtesy of contacting them before actions are taken to sever relations and/or to issue various denunciations? Joseph Ratzinger's chief allies in keeping Catholics attached to the structures of the counterfeit church of conciliarism are frequently those very Catholics, both clergy and members of the laity, who reject his "legitimacy" as a Successor of Saint Peter but who cause scandal by their treating other Catholics with disdain and/or contempt.
We must, as I have written so many times in the past, remember that nothing that anyone says about us or does to us is the equal of what one of our least Venial Sins caused Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to suffer in His Sacred Humanity during His Passion and Death as our sins thrust those Seven Swords of Sorrow through and through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Although there may be occasions during this period of apostasy and betrayal when friendships will be strained and when we may need to bring serious concerns of ours to our shepherds with all due respect to their dignity as true priests, we must always forgive others as we are forgiven so generously in the Sacred Tribunal of Penance.
Indeed, a man wrote to me recently to apologize for his having "persecuted" my position concerning the state of the Church Militant on earth at this time. While I appreciate the humility that prompted the man to write to me, I was unaware of his "persecution" and would not have been bothered by it in the slightest had I known of it. My work is fair game for comment and criticism. My work is not the standard of Catholicism from which no one is free to dissent. I have had to admit that I've been wrong about many things in the past, starting with the Americanism of the early part of my academic career that was correct i public and in very pointed terms at an academic conference in 1987. I very much appreciate having to tell others than I have been wrong, which is why I was very edified by the note that the aforementioned gentleman sent me a short while ago.
Indeed, it is good that I am humiliated and calumniated and rejected and misunderstood. Very good. My pride needs to be beaten down and pummeled. None of us, clergy or member of the laity, has any right to think that we can escape being misunderstood or that our positions can escape being scrutinized. We must be so detached from our disordered pride and our disordered self-love as to consider it a true privilege to unite ourselves to the mercies of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary. as our pride is beaten down and smashed up as it deserves. As the late Father John A. Hardon, S.J., a sedeplenist who was very good friend of mine, said at a conference in Sterling Heights, Michigan, where we made presentations in 1997, "God permits us to sin so that we can forgive each other." We must forgive as we are forgiven by the Divine Redeemer Himself in the hospital of Divine Mercy that is the Sacred Tribunal of Penance.
Grudges? Hard feelings? We have no permission from Our Lord, Who suffered mightily as a result of our sins having transcended time and Whose Mystical Body suffers today because of our sins, to nurse grudges or hard feelings? We must forgive as we are forgiven. Even when we might have reason to be angry and upset or disappointed or distressed over this or that situation, perhaps a situation or two involving real injustices and/or ingrained patterns of treating others that cannot be justified in the slightest before God, my friends, we have to let go of that anger and pray with forgiveness in our hearts as we will the good of everyone else no matter the difficulties and disappointments or distresses of the moment.
We must forgive others without reservation and without delay. And those who might be tempted to express righteous indignation when they believe that they have been treated unjustly by various online postings ought to examine their own consciences to see if anything they have said or published online about others might have provoked such postings and then offer forgiveness to those they have provoked as they seek forgiveness from those they may have calumniated for all the world to see. Only those who are steeped in the delusion that they are personally infallible can refuse to recognize, as I alluded to before, that some of the sins against the Eighth Commandment committed against them have been provoked by their own sins against the Eighth Commandment.
Father Edward Leen discussed in his book, In the Likeness of Christ, how it is that we must suffer, sometimes justly and sometimes unjustly, from others:
Under the reign of Satan men were hard and unfeeling, without pity or tenderness. The one thing they looked up to was the physical power to dominate, and the one thing they feared was the helplessness of poverty. Their life was divided between pleasure and cruelty.... Conversion of heart was for them extremely difficult. What God required on the part of man as a necessary condition of their friendship with Him was to them abhorrent, for the practice of the Christian virtues of submission, humility, and patience would be regarded by them as degrading....
In other words, it is the law of things as they actually are that we must continually suffer from others; it is the condition of our being that we shall be the victims of others' abuse of their free wills; it belongs to our position that our desires and inclinations should be continually thwarted and that we should be at the mercy of circumstances. And it is our duty to bear that without resentment and without rebellion. To rebel is to assert practically that such things are not our due, that they do not belong to our position. It is to refuse to recognize that we are fallen members of a fallen race. The moment we feel resentment at anything painful that happens to us through the activity of men or things, at that moment we are resentful against God's Providence.
We are in this really protesting against His eternal determination to create free beings; for these sufferings which we endure are a consequence of the carrying into effect of that free determination. If we expect or look for a mode of existence in which we shall not endure harshness, unkindness, misunderstanding, and injustice, we are actually rebelling against God's Providence, we are claiming a position that does not belong to us as creatures. This is to sin against humility. It is pride. (Father Edward Leen, In The Likeness of Christ.)
In other words, my friends, we must suffer well the calumnies of others, recognizing that our sins deserve far worse that we are asked to suffer in this passing, mortal vale of tears. Our own patient endurance of having our reputations dragged through the mud, if offered to the Most Blessed Trinity through Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, might just help to effect the conversion of those calumniating us.
We prove ourselves to be disciples of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by treating others as we would treat Him in the very Flesh. This means that we have no room to be nasty or surly or dismissive of other human beings, no right to be quick to judge the interior dispositions of the hearts of others, no right to judge by appearances those things about others that will be understood only on the Last Day at the General Judgment of the Living and the Dead. While there may be occasions to seek redress from various troublesome situations in this passing, mortal vale of tears, we must seek such redress without rancor and that it might indeed be God's Holy Will for us to be turned away, to have a door slammed smack in our faces until the intentions of all hearts and the circumstances of all lives are made manifest on that Last Day, at which time the souls of the just will be reconciled one unto the other for all eternity as they share the blessedness of the glory of God in the company of Our Lady and Saint Joseph and our Guardian Angels and all of the other angels and saints.
Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ has undergone His Passion and Death mystically through His Mystical Bride, the Church Militant on earth. As noted in
Bookended From Birth to Birth, the late Father Vincent Bowes, O.C.D., believed that Our Lord has been placed, mystically, in the Tomb after being scourged by the false doctrines of the "Second" Vatican Council, crowned with thorns when Giovanni Montini called the United Nations mankind's "hope" for world peace, crucified when the Novus Ordo was promulgated and thus the Blessed Sacrament killed, remaining on the Cross mystically until a Vatican official, Joseph Ratzinger himself, said that Jews and Protestants and the Orthodox do not need to convert to the Catholic Church, experiencing His mystical death thereafter.
We have the opportunity, therefore, to keep Our Lady company outside of her Divine Son's mystical tomb, praying to Him through her Most Holy Rosary that the Resurrection of the Mystical Body of Christ will occur sooner rather than later as we continue to live penitentially so as to help to make reparation for our sins and those of the whole world by cooperating with the graces won for us on the the wood of the Holy Cross and that flow into our hearts and souls through the loving hands of Our Lady, the Mediatrix of All Graces.
With complete and total trust in the Immaculate Heart of Mary as we rely upon the tender Mercies of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, may our own fidelity to the Catholic Faith help more and more of our fellow Catholics, as well as non-Catholics, to seek out the true Faith in the catacombs and to reject the anti-Incarnational errors of Modernity in the world and the Modernist ethos abroad in the counterfeit church of conciliarism, doing so in all Charity and praying and thinking before we next hit that "send" key and send someone an "instant communication" fraught with bitterness and anger that might have deleterious consequences for us for all eternity.
Isn't it time to pray a set of mysteries of Our Lady's Most Holy Rosary?
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and the hour of our death Amen
Vivat Christus Rex!
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us
Saint Joseph, pray for us
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.
Saints Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, pray for us.
Saint Stephen the Protomartyr, pray for us.
Saint Lawrence the Deacon, pray for us.
Saint Alphonsus de Liguori, pray for us.
Pope Saint Stephen I, pray for us.
See also: A Litany of Saints