Most trad Catholics understand the sins of slander and calumny, which include gossip spreading things which are false about people. But, the great sins of too many trads, including entire TLM communities, newspapers and speakers on the circuit, are the sins of defamation and vilification Defamation is destroying purposefully out of malice the reputation of another person. Vilification is a twofold sin–first, showing a person’s character in the worst possible light, interpreting speech according to one’s agenda; and second, using abusive and disparaging words in speech or in writing.

    Examples abound and some so-called Catholic conservatives who write for some popular trad newspapers and blogs misrepresent by analogy the words of not only Pope Francis, but Benedict and St. John Paul II. Those men who refuse to call St. John Paul II saint are some examples of sinning by vilification.

    I have distanced myself from two TLM communities in the recent past because of what I call the Adversarial Spirit. This is a demonic influence which constantly divides, tears down loyalty to Holy Mother Church, and falsely categorizes Catholics as neo-cons or conservatives, etc. Love is the answer and love means forbearance with one another’s faults, including that of bishops and popes.

    Now, we must be aware of true heresy. But, to be constantly on the watch for errors is a sickening and destructive habit of mind. Maliciousness is contagious and a very serious sin of the intellect. Some authors and speakers have fallen into this sin regarding this pope and the last three or four popes. Analogical speaking creates false impressions, and I have recently heard a talk by a very prominent Catholic author who made three logical errors in one sentence regarding Modernism and the last three popes. Those people not trained in logic would miss the fallacy of false analogy.

    Years ago, as a very young person, I fell away from the Church as I wanted Her to seem perfect in every way. Well, I had to look at myself first of all. When I came back to the Catholic Church, I had the grace to separate the sins of men in the hierarchy from doctrine, and began to see the importance of the strictures on the teaching of Papal Infallibility

    We have had very bad popes. This present pope is not the worst one, in a long stretch and if the laity are confused, I would suggest they get down on their knees and pray to be rid of the obstacles to discernment and to study, study, study the beautiful and truth teachings of the Church.

    However, one of the memes on my blog and in my conversations of late has been paying attention to only what are the duties of one’s vocation. Too many people are what I wrote about years ago, “uppity laypeople” who think they are holier and know better than Rome on a lot of issues. One must stay within the vocation to which one is called. Anything else could be the sin of curiosity. One blog I wrote years ago had to do with the great American sin of sloth–being lax about one’s own vocation by peering into the faults of others.

    Humility is key.