One of the most surprising and disappointing things to occur in the wake of the ongoing Father John Corapi scandal has been the large number of Catholic media folks who have publically written or said very negative, unloving, and vengeful statements toward the man (the sinner like every one of us) John Corapi.
Then this dynamic reared it’s ugly head again Tuesday when the Florida jury ruled not guilty in the case against Casey Anthony. Admittedly, the verdict stung me as I felt justice was not served; regardless, I was once again troubled to see so many people take to their Facebook pages and let loose on Casey, the jury and judge, and Casey’s legal team.
I once heard Lisa Hendy, Catholic social media pioneer and founder/webmaster of CatholicMom.com, speak about (and I’m paraphrasing here) how comments written on Facebook or in a comment-box on a blog are unique opportunities to quietly evangelize, and if you are the only Christian someone interacts with that day, even if it’s through a social media outlet, what would he/she think of all Christians?
I think about this often. Are my blog posts and Facebook updates and comments Christ-like? (I’ve fallen short many a time or two.) Do my comments honor others…or tear down? And if I tear down, haven’t I violated the Eighth Commandment?
I came across this article, Calumny in the Blogosphere, by the Reverend Michael P. Orsi, a priest of the Diocese of Camden, N.J., that addresses this very issue, and I feel is very worthy to be read by all. I’ve chosen to share Fr. Orsi’s ten recommendations regarding those of us who write and read blogs (any emphasis added is mine):
- Pastors should speak on the Eighth Commandment and its corollary injunctions against calumny and detraction.
- People should be warned that what they read on blogs is not necessarily true.
- Any anonymous blog or unsigned response has the weight of an unsigned letter and so should be quickly dismissed.
- A blog that is particularly vicious toward persons can be indicative of psychological illness, or simply an evil person, and is therefore suspect.
- Any blog that is unedifying and demeaning to another person should not be read. It is the equivalent of pornography.
- Responding to these calumnious blogs, even for defense of the individual or for clarification, only encourages the offender and prolongs the life of the calumny.
- Those who suffer calumny on anonymous blogs are, for the most part, better off enduring it. Seeking to correct misrepresentations usually has the effect of keeping controversy alive and adding to its interest value.
- While reading such blogs is damaging to its target (since it causes unwarranted negative speculation about another’s character), it also hurts the reader since it causes scandal, sowing pessimism and despondency.
- Calumnious blogging is a serious offense against God’s law. Those who engage in it are jeopardizing their immortal souls and the souls of others.
- For anyone to make a judgment concerning a person’s character based on what is read on a negative blog is to be a formal cooperator in the evil perpetrated by the blogger.
Continue reading the full article…
Hard-hitting recommendations but certainly ones that are challenging me to be better and do better with my social media activity. Hopefully they will encourage you to be and do better as well.