From a reader:
Hello Father! An examination of conscience asks, “Have I spoken against a priest, or against anyone consecrated to God? (This is a sacrilege).” I am not sure what constitutes “speaking against”, but I have made fun of the LCWR to friends and family; have I committed the sin of sacrilege? Thank you.
There are certainly boundaries about what we should say about any person, made in the image and likeness of God. It is best to restrict oneself to manifest, publicly known deeds and words and, even then, to be discreet.
This applies to any person. However, there is an addition sin when we harm a person who is consecrated. That is also the sin of sacrilege. If you strike a person, in an unwarranted way, that is a sin. If you strike a priest, that is also the sin of sacrilege.
Let’s make some distinctions about speaking against people.
Calumny is the harm done to another’s good name by imputing to him, behind his back, something injurious to his reputation of which the speaker or writer knows he is innocent. In short, it is lying about someone to make them look bad. It is slander.
Detraction is the revelation the hidden sins or faults of another, without sufficient cause, so that the person’s reputation is seriously damaged. It might be, in some cases, necessary to reveal things that are not public to proper authority. But great care must be done to discern if the matter is grave enough and if the situation really warrants doing so.
You can remember the difference between calumny and detraction by remember the “l” in calumny for “lie and the “t” in detraction for “truth”.
It is not out of bounds to talk in strong terms about the LCWR. This is a group which brought in to speak at their annual meeting an open lesbian and a woman into new-age cosmic consciousness. They gave an award to a woman religious with bizarre and erroneous theological notions, such as the ludicrous idea that the Canaanite woman taught Jesus who He was as Messiah, etc.
It is not out of bounds to point with derision to a group of sisters who won’t advance the Church’s teaching about abortion.
As far as the LCWR is concerned, we have to be a little careful not to become too personal in our comments about individual sisters or their supporters. I am sure that some of the sisters involved in leadership of communities that belong to the LCWR are just fine. In the main, however, the LCWR is dreadful and deserves to be unmasked. Their public deeds and words are fair game.
In my opinion, invective is not out of bounds when it comes to the deeds and words issued by the LCWR or the Nuns on the Bus, or the sister who runs the Catholic Health Association, etc. These days, there is in the mainstream and liberal catholic media a fog of pettifoggery when it comes to these liberal nuns and their corrosive work. We have to cut through the fog and the cover provided by their minions. A cutting word or two is not without its medicinal effect, both for the objective of the cut but also for those who are paying attention to the issues.
The pretenders of the Magisterium of Nuns must be brought down for their own good and ours.