Via the blog at Ignatius.com, found this link to an article by Reverend Michael P. Orsi reviewing the sin of calumny and noting the rise of the unfortunate practice in the blogosphere.
Father is right: our eternal felicity depends on our treatment of our fellows, no matter where we find them.
But I find myself feeling angry when I know that there are mature, normally intelligent young persons and adults in the pews who do not know what calumny is. They cannot even spell it - in any language. They have no clue.
Father's excellent list of recommendations begins with:
"Pastors should speak on the Eighth Commandment and its corollary injunctions against calumny and detraction."
OK, so we're done then.
Father is probably a good homilist. I note he is not in the diocese from which I write. I trust it is not a sin to note that there are lots of homilies delivered in this diocese which are worse than mere blather. And let's not even get into what passes for "catechesis."
It is a kind of abuse in its own way, and perpetrated with unflagging zeal. And the sheep are so ignorant that they don't even know they're being starved.
However, the Holy Father is a good shepherd. He is a good teacher, a wise man, a servant of God... he is our miracle in this generation. Some bishops will obviously need a lot of help just to implement a very simple directive. And remember, there are those who earnestly believe that people cannot understand words like "consubstantiation," or anything in Latin. It would not be surprising if those gentlemen also balked at using a word like "calumny" in a teaching context.
But, as Father Z. so wisely says, brick by brick.
Father Orsi is concerned for the souls of calumniators. May his article be read and understood by those who will benefit from it. Let us pray for all who are guilty or tempted by this terrible sin. But let us also pray for the souls of those who accepted the responsibility of being a shepherd to souls, then abdicated it for the sake of popularity, worldly acceptance, or tithes.