And The Greatest Of These Is Charity…

“Let us consider the Eighth Commandment, not least within the context of today’s digital age. The Ten Commandments make explicit the natural law written into every human heart. They tell us to love God (Commandments One to Three) and to love our neighbour (Commandments Four to Ten). The Eighth Commandment says this: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.”9 In other words, we must exercise discretion, respect others and their privacy, and not engage in slander, gossip and rash judgment. We must avoid calumny, that is, slurring and damaging people, and not spread abroad their sins and failings. 10 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. Yet when we think of our news media and TV, in which fallen celebrities are pilloried, reputations shredded and people’s sins exposed, it sometimes seems our popular culture thrives on breaking this Commandment.”  Click on photo of Bishop Egan to read his Lenten Pastoral Letter in full.

And then, focusing on his remarks about social media, we might consider whether or not blogging – by its nature –  leads to lack of charity, and hence to sin against the eighth commandment. Share your practical tips on how to avoid lack of charity in blogging…

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40 responses

  1. I think if everyone followed the guidance in the About Us section of this blog, there wouldn’t be any lack of charity among bloggers. I honestly don’t think there is a lack of charity on this blog though I don’t follow other blogs very often.

    After seeing what happened to Deacon Nick Donnelly’s blog, who is very orthodox, I can’t help wondering what Bishop Egan would see as uncharitable blogging.

    • If we stopped blogging, what other avenue is open to us to comment / express our concerns on the different scandals in the Church? I’ve given up writing to my bishop as he fobs me off and any letters I send to the Catholic press don’t get published. What else can we do if not blog? I’m not being sarcastic, I’m genuinely asking, because I feel I need to say something, even if it’s just now and again, to feel I’m part of the battle for the soul of the Church, even if only a very small part.

      • Nicky,

        Just keep blogging. As the proverb says: “You cast your bread upon the water . . . “.

        You don’t know who reads what you say, nor what good outcome it may have, but you can be sure that if you did nothing, that good outcome would not have the opportunity to be made manifest.

        One of the corner stones of this blog is our spiritual education. As long as we each propagate only the truth as taught by the Church down through the ages we shall commit none of the sins covered in the introduction to this thread.

        Sometimes the truth hurts, but as long as it is the truth (not our personal opinion), it is our duty to make it known and that is what we must do.

        • Leprechaun,

          Well said. We should work (at blogging!) as if everything depended on our efforts and then pray as if everything depended on God – which, of course, it does! Nope, I’ve not gone all saintly – that’s what St Ignatius taught – although some attribute it to St Augustine. All I know is it ain’t attributable to the non-saint Editor of CT!

      • Nicky,

        Those are my own thoughts exactly. If we didn’t have blogs, we wouldn’t have any way of speaking out. Maybe that’s why the bishops want to shut us down!

    • Chasdom,

      Please, feel free to stop blogging. Don’t worry about us – we understand. Thanks for all your insightful comments to date. We will miss you but, shucks, that’s life 😉

      • Editor, you really cant resist can you. What was that about charity on blogs?. You are a women of course so you don’t listen to anything said to you, and totally ignore St. Paul’s admonition that women should remain veiled and silent on church issues………… not only disobedient but diabolically disoriented too, honey there is no hope for you.

        • Chasdom, your attitude is more worthy of the Taliban than a Catholic! What a rude, disrespectful comment that was! And you talk about charity on blogs????

          • Chasdom is a notorious misogynist.

            He is the kind of creep that promotes liberal and modernist values in the Church exteriorly, but harbours a Taliban (as you say) hatred towards women in private.

            The phenomena is not uncommon. A lot of homosexuals and liberal priests hold the same sentiments. I have met his type before.

        • Chasdom,

          As a Catholic you ought to know that the interpretation of St Paul which you peddle in your post at 4.01pm is the evangelical Protestant version – it is NOT the Catholic interpretation. I know that there is a strain of this Protestantism running even through some men who think of themselves as orthodox (traditional even) Catholics, and that is sad. They are, of course, like your good self, completely wrong and displaying a lamentable ignorance about the nature of Sacred Scripture and how to interpret it.

          If, as you say, St Paul means women to remain silent on Church issues, then the Church made a huge mistake by canonising several major female saints, famous precisely because they most certainly did NOT remain silent on Church issues. I can think of one off the top of my head who told the pope of her time to resign if he didn’t have the courage to do the job properly. A gal after my own heart, you can bet! Was she disobeying Church teaching on women, or was she right not to apply such passages, literally, to herself? I think she had too much of a solid Catholic sense to think like a fundamentalist Protestant – what do you think?

        • St Paul said “”There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”

  2. I read this blog quite a lot even though I am not a Catholic. On the whole I find the points of view reasoned and intelligent. Chasdom, you seem to be a troublemaker and, if you don’t agree with with blogging, why do you do so?

    Yes, people need a platform to speak and when the popular press, especially the Catholic press (from what I hear) censor any opinion they don’t like, then a forum such as this is of the most vital importance.

    • Hamish,

      “… the popular press, especially the Catholic press (from what I hear) censor any opinion they don’t like..”

      Yes, they do. Usually mine 😥

  3. I agree with MM. Charity is loving God and loving your neighbor as yourself for the love of God. It doesn’t mean you can’t criticize a person or find fault with them.

    • Chopin,

      Well said. In fact, it can be an act of charity to criticise someone, depending on circumstances, motive etc. At least that’s what all my critics say 😀

  4. Well said, Margaret Mary.

    There’s no doubt that the sins of detraction, calumny and rash judgement, quite apart from foam flecked hatred are a danger that have to be guarded against on any blog. Examples abound on the blogs of the antichrist secular media.

    That said, silence in the face of the enemy was never a tactic of the Church Militant. And of course, it seems as though barely a week goes by without Catholics being bombarded with scandalous words and actions from our shepherds, from the top down.

    Sticking to the truth, due respect for office, and the basic principles of justice should keep bloggers on the right path while the following words offer a reliable guide to all Catholics, bloggers or not:

    “It is true that we can speak openly of infamous, public, notorious sinners, provided it is in a spirit of charity and compassion and not arrogantly and presumptuously. Nor should we take any pleasure from the evils of others, for this last is always the act of a mean, debased heart. However, I exclude the declared enemies of God and His Church. It is our duty to denounce as strongly as we can heretical and schismatic sects and their leaders. It is an act of charity to cry out against the wolf when he is among the sheep, wherever he is.” – Saint Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life

    “When the shepherd turns wolf, the flock must first of all take steps to protect itself. Without doubt, as a general rule, teaching comes down from the bishops to the faithful, and the latter, being subjects of the former in the field of faith, do not ordinarily require to appraise their leaders critically. But in the treasury of Revelation there are essential truths concerning which every Christian is sufficiently well informed, and which he is obliged to defend, by virtue of the very fact of his being Christian. The principle is the same whether it concerns belief or behaviour, morality or dogma.

    “Treasonable acts such as those of Nestorius are rare in the Church, but it can happen that for one reason or another pastors remain silent under circumstances when the faith itself is involved. The truly faithful under such circumstances are those whose conduct is inspired by their Christian Baptism, not the faith-hearted time-servers who, making the specious excuse that they must obey established authority, refuse to attack the enemy or expose his machinations unless they are given a clear lead, which, under the circumstances, it is quite futile to expect.” – Dom Prosper Gueranger in L’Annee Liturgique

    • Leo,

      Thank you for those pertinent quotes, most especially the quote from Dom Prosper Gueranger at the end.

      It is, indeed, unsettling (and even upsetting) to witness “foam flecked hatred” but I think in all honesty, we have not had much, if any, of such patent lack of charity on this blog. Our bloggers are, by and large, courteous and respectful. Add to that a dash of good humour and voila! We have a very charitable blog here…And long may it continue!

  5. There is an attitude, as we all know, that the Catholic Church is authoritarian, censorious, and desires to control its members. Certain pressures placed upon an English clergyman and bloger by his diocese recently seem to justify this attitude.

    Ironically, it is the Traditional party in the church who ‘rebel’ against such authoritarianism.

    Charity these days is whatever is agreeable to the person who is doing the moralising, likewise, to the person doing the moralising, anything that is disagreeable is uncharitable.

  6. A lot of Catholics don’t think twice about calling their brother “schismatic”, “disobedient” etc.. In some cases this is fratricidal hatred, for example Fr Paul Nicholson who intimates that ‘Lefebvrists’ are eternally damned. They are oblivious to their hatred. There is a double standard.

    Robert Mickens. Liberal dissident Catholic. Tablet correspondent. Publicly expressed his hope for the early death of Pope Benedict, whom he calls ‘the Rat’. On Facebook. What’s the difference between his lapse in charity? He is a heretic. It’s only uncharitable if an orthodox Catholic does it.

    • Miles Immaculatae,

      I agree, only the orthodox Catholics have a duty to be charitable! It’s shocking that Robert Mickens said what he did about Pope Benedict, is there any chance you have a link to the original on that?

        • Catholic Convert,

          That is shocking. He’s the journalist who is interviewed on the Channel 4 documentary “Secrets of the Vatican” and he says in there that Pope Benedict should never have been a bishop. He obviously hates the Pope Emeritus. What a terrible thing to say, wishing him dead. I wonder what it means, “suspended” – will he be reinstated when the fuss has died down, I wonder?

          • It should mean what suspended can mean, i.e., hanging from a rope.

            On the other hand, I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. I would only be lowering myself to his slimy standards if I did.

        • Catholicconvert,
          I wrote to the SCO in the 1980’s when they referred to Cardinal Ratzinger using disrespectful language – as he clearly was challenging their ( the SCO) apostate ideas and they did not want the Catholic “peasants” to follow the teaching and discipline of the Church.
          The bishops should not allow the Tablet, the SCO etc.( as they publish so much non-sense) to continue to be sold in parish churches throughout the UK. But don’t hold your breath…..

  7. In working life, in parish life, through letters, articles, you name it, there is borne out the old adage ” there is no one less liberal than a liberal.”
    Thinking on Bobby Mickens words on the Pope emeritus, it would be difficult on any blog to find the bile and character assassination levelled at a Pope Benedict who was perceived to be a traditionalist.
    This is repeated to greater or lesser extents everywhere. There are articles in so called Catholic papers all the time which are vitriolic, slam people of a traditional leaning, mock, ridicule and show not a trace of Christian charity. Strange how that is quite acceptable so long as those on the receiving end are of a traditionalist mould.
    No, what is happening now is that through blogs for the first time traditional opinions are being expressed……..and most usually in a very informed way. The blogs are being read all over the world. They are an encouragement to people, who at parish level, can easily begin to think they are out there on their own………. Fanatics! This latter adjective thrown by a very worthy, charitable, liberal RCIA group member. But that was acceptable.Why? Because the insult was levelled at “a traditionalist”.
    Now there is a voice opposed to the liberal lobby, who have had it their own way for a long time.
    There are many, many blogs supporting traditional thinking. I am so glad and grateful for them.

    • Spero,

      I hadn’t realised Robert Mickens had been so hateful towards Pope Benedict, although I thought his arrogant opinion that he should never have been made a bishop, outrageous (see Channel 4 documentary, Secrets of the Vatican, linked to the image in the blog article). I have no doubt Mickens be of the opinion that the likes of Mgr Loftus SHOULD be bishops, given that he writes frequently in The Tablet. “Mickens taking the Mickey” – a headline begging for publication surely 😀

      And of course you are right – anyone showing the least leaning towards orthodoxy, let alone “traditionalism” is treated like a leper. Remember, when I was having my work cut out to teach the basics in the Catholic sector, with rebels all around me, I was still attending the novus ordo and never as much as mentioned the traditional Latin Mass. What my life would have been like had I been attending the TLM, let alone the SSPX TLM, I shudder to think.

      Yes, they are about as “liberal” as Pol Pot, these self-appointed “liberals”.

  8. Like MM, I don’t think there is any lack of charity on this blog- honesty, yes, but no nastiness or ‘foam flecked hatred’ (I love that, it describes so perfectly, the venom directed at the truth).

    I think Leprechaun;s thoughtful comment summed up very nicely, the purpose of this blog as being a teaching tool for ” our spiritual education”. And when he offered this suggestion, “so long as we
    propagate only those truths taught by the Church down through the ages”, it struck me, that this is exactly what bloggers do on this blog!

    • Jobstears,

      I agree with you completely – there is a lot of learning to be gained from this blog and I don’t see any lack of charity except in the people who come on to criticise the bloggers. It must bother them a lot that this blog is so Catholic!

  9. The title is “and the greatest of these is charity”. This was followed up with a comment “as the proverb says, ‘you cast your bread upon the water’”. Discussion moved on to a concept that truth hurts but one has a “duty” to make the truth known. There was a criticism, too, of a commentator’s “lamentable ignorance of sacred scriptures”.

    One could be charitable and congratulate bloggers on an attempt to base a thread on the scriptures, rather than prophecies, apparitions, secrets and bits of private messaging. But in 1 Corinthians 13:12-3, Paul is drawing contrasts: now we see darkly, then we shall know. So the text is contrastive “but the greatest”. Glance at the Vulgate or a German or Russian translation and they all go for a disjunctive word: the conjunctive “and” is not just inaccurate, it obscures the scriptural contrast.

    But it gets more lamentable still. “Bread on the waters” is no proverb, it is from scripture, Ecclesiastes (11: 1). Look at the Vulgate, Douay or even (low be it said) Dr Wycliffe and it is “waters”, not “water”. The image is a tide or a flow (Shakespeare’s “tide in the affairs of men”) not some duck pond. And the waters are not merely plural, the Vulgate has an adjective, “transeuntes aquas”, faithfully rendered by Douay (and Dr Wycliffe). For those who are wondering how “waters” managed to become “water”, we have Dr Luther to thank for that.

    So, truth of it is, we have an inaccurate headline, a misquotation of scripture and an allegedly Roman-Catholic blogger who is following a Lutheran line of translation under the impression it is a mere proverb.

    Does one point out the truth or, charitably, congratulate our separated brethren on making some sort of an effort at something which clearly does not come as naturally to them as to other catholic traditions?

    • Dr Dowden,

      Since your comment is full of (negative) references to various alleged comments, none of which you bother to identify, and since I’m up to my eyes with no time to scan to find out the names of said blogger “culprits” (in your view) and since I have no intention of getting back into the pointless habit of trying to make you see that – however much you pretend – you are not part of the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church but, in fact, adhere to membership of the schismatic Anglican ecclesial community, I can only answer one of your criticisms: the one remark which clearly applies to me regarding my choice of headline (again always a favourite with my enemies and a very weak target, but what the heck).

      This thread was NOT intended to be a discussion based on Scripture but based on Bishop Egan’s Pastoral Letter. Pay attention. I chose a headline which most accurately, in my humble view, reflected the essence of the Pastoral Letter. Think about it. The headline was followed by an extract from Bp Egan’s Pastoral Letter. End of. There was no proverb. Pay more attention.

      You appear anxious to put us down – as you did in days of yore – on the grounds that we’re not all biblical scholars. Won’t work. Neither will comparing us unfavourably with various Protestant sects – not from a man who doesn’t even know that the name of our Church is Catholic and not “Roman Catholic”. A very elementary thing, is that, to know the name of an institution especially when you’re hell (literally) bent on attacking it. Wise to at least know what it’s called.

      Now, we won’t be diverted from our discussions, Dr Dowden. We have informal chats here, but if you intend to put us down and speak to us from a lofty academic height (times like this I wish I’d taken my university tutor’s advice to go for the PhD instead of the MTh, but what the heck …again) please either write in plain English, with documented academic sources where you challenge our informal meanderings OR take whatsiname, doggy, for a walk. You know it makes sense.

  10. Sadly, ‘whatshername’ has gone wherever it is that the good dogs go but her sister is still with us and one supposes that, in some mystical sense, we all still go for walks together, albeit she runs in a greater light and on another shore.

    Where the church is (or is not), or where these days it ‘subsists’, are matters where different people have different points of view but, as a matter of law, the ‘Catholic Church’ in England is the Church of England. Some people from immigrant families may take a different view, and press the claims of a foreign bishop, but the constitutional position is clear.

    One never expects to have the last word in any discussion where ladies are involved but it is difficult to imagine what ‘1 Corinthians, 13:12-3’ or ‘Ecclesiastes 11:1’ might be if not well documented sources. It might be that the difference between DPhils and MThs is a better understanding of the rules of fair play rather than trying to win by any means.

    • The Church of England is a Protestant Church not a Catholic Church. Some of them might like to play at being Catholics and put statues, Stations of the Cross etc in their churches and advertise “Mass” on the notice board and pretend that their ministers are priests and call them Father but that doesn’t make them Catholic.

      • Vianney,

        You may think the Church of England is a ‘protestant’ church. England has been a free country since 17 November, 1558, with no Holy Inquisition, so you are perfectly entitled to your opinion. You will, however, search long and hard to find such a statement in any official formulary of the English Church.

        One has a suspicion that Chancellor Moore (who was one of Her Majesty’s Judges after all) is a safer guide on this point (E. Garth Moore, Introduction to English Canon Law, Oxford (4th edition with T. Briden), p. 191).

        If you still disagree, advise all your elderly English relatives to make a will leaving the residue of their estates to the ‘Catholic Church’ and wait and see who gets the dosh.

        • Dr John Dowden,

          If you stop anyone in the street in England in a street where at one end is a Church of England and the other there is a Catholic Church, and ask that person for directions to the nearest Catholic Church they will not point to the C of E. That’s a fact. I also doubt very much if anyone leaving money to the Catholic Church would have to worry about it going to the C of E.

          The C of E is obviously a Protestant Church as the 39 articles make very clear.
          http://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-worship/worship/book-of-common-prayer/articles-of-religion.aspx#XX

          • Margaret Mary,

            Sort of the same story, things move on.

            You may think the Articles of Religion are ‘protestant’ but they do not say so. Young Mr Newman made his reputation at Oxford with a demonstration (in Tract XC) that they were consistent with contemporary Roman doctrine – that was no accident: Queen Elizabeth wished the English Church to be inclusive and the formula she came up with is deliberately ambiguous. Anglican clergy and lay officials simply have to sign a form saying that the Articles are a historical document (which they undoubtedly are).

            But to be fair, and all banter apart, the legal statement is accurate: in the absence of any clearer statement of the testator’s wishes, the CofE would get any money left to the ‘Catholic Church’. The Roman-Catholic Church is England has only recently had to hand back GBP 1,000,000 since the charity which gave it was specified as being ‘catholic’ – to be fair they handed back the dosh without having to be taken to court.

            That is a case of law, truth and charity. And the greatest of these is law.

        • The Church of England came into being at the Reformation and is a Protestant Church. It doesn’t matter what your law says, the one true Church, the one founded by Christ himself, a.k.a. the Catholic Church, says that the C.O.E. is not Catholic and doesn’t have a valid priesthood. Any Catholic who belongs to the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham will tell you that. One of their priests recently said that when he was an Anglican he always believed himself to be a Catholic but since joining the Catholic Church he has come to realise that he was not a Catholic and had been deluding himself.

          Oh, and by the way, England has not been a free country since 1707, the year it ceased to be an independent country.

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