Did We Really Need a Bishop to Tell us that Verbally Sliming Other People is a Grave Sin?

Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth, England, evidently felt that the people in the pews (not to mention a few priests) needed to remember that malicious gossip, calumny and slander are mortal sins. 

They are mortal sins, even when you commit them anonymously on the internet.

Do we really need a bishop to tell us that?

Stop for a moment and think about the dark pleasure that comes into your heart when you verbally destroy another person out of spite or malice. Consider the hard, sadistic satisfaction you take in thinking about the pain you are inflicting.

Do you really think that comes from heaven above?

No matter how self-righteously you proclaim that you are speaking Truth, you know, if you will just be honest with yourself, that what you are doing is practicing cruelty for the evil pleasure of practicing cruelty.

Just like a little kid, pulling the legs off a bug.

That’s you and your grandiose claims of a higher morality that allows you to inflict damage on other people for no other reason but that you get a dark satisfaction out of doing it.

These are, as the bishop tells us, grave sins. They are go-to-hell-for-eternity sins.

They come from the pit.

Don’t commit them.

From Catholic News Service:

MANCHESTER, England (CNS) — An English bishop asked Catholics to use Lent as a time to repent of sins committed on social media.

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.

Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth, England, asked Catholics to use Lent as a time to repent of sins committed on social media. (CNS/Reuters)

“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.

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    Mortal sin? I can see a sin, but a mortal sin? So if one happens to tell a friend that another friend is a louse and suddenly you die, you go to hell for that? Seems silly and trivial. What exactly is the criteria between a mortal and a venal sin?

    • hamiltonr

      No. That’s just venting, and it’s not a mortal sin. A mortal sin is to maliciously attempt to destroy another person’s reputation, which happens all the time on the internet.

      • Gordis85

        So true…a lot of what is mentioned in the above article can be found on Catholic websites too not just secular ones.
        We need to keep praying to avoid such scandal/temptation.
        Thanks again Rebecca.

      • pesq87

        it’s happened to me on this very blog by other commenters.

        • hamiltonr

          If I remember correctly, both you and the other commenter got a little heated and I stopped it.

          • pesq87

            we can let your readers decide.

            • hamiltonr

              Drop it, friend.

      • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

        Sorry for the time gap in responding, Rebecca, but I’ve been away. The Bishop said this, “We must avoid calumny, that is, slurring and damaging people, and not spread abroad their sins and failings,” he said.

        I still think by his criteria, calling someone a louse or even simple gossip between friends of a mutal third party is a mortal sin. I think basic everyday lunch time talk between co-workers classifies as slurring or damaging. I think by his criteria it is a mortal sin.

  • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

    One I’m trying to work hard to repent from- and another one I fail at constantly.

  • peggy-o

    Yes seems like we do. I experienced this last year by someone I knew. I walked away and it amped up. I had to block my email. A few months later a long email full of slander and name calling was sent to a group and I saw it when someone replied to all. Felt like the wind was knocked out. But it was so overboard that I actually was able to feel empathy and forgive. I took it to adoration and prayed for my accuser and myself a St Anthony healing prayer. It was a painful trial–but worth it to stand up for my mom who was in tears. We have to know the source of all attacks is Satan even when we might start with righteous emotions. We can always offer up when we’re victims for the times we have been the afflicters.
    Here’s hoping civility will be the next viral craze. Thanks for sharing the bishops reminder!

  • pagansister

    What is the “old saying?” If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all?” Not always advice taken, but I feel if one disagrees with another person, putting them down is not a way to get your point across.