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The Detractor Malefactor Chronicle - Why We Respond?

by Catherine Frakas 02 Mar 2009

The Detractor Malefactor Chronicle | Tales from the Grapevine: What Detractors Say about the Oblates and Missioners of St. Michael and our Website Home
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July 2010 (1)
August 2009 (17) Why We Respond?
St. Francis de Sales said that we must respond to false accusations out of due respect for truth and your neighbour’s edification. Telling lies about someone and defaming their name is grave sin and does such damage not only to the person but to many others as well. Most importantly lies told often enough will be considered true.
Vladimir Lenin said, A lie told often enough becomes truth.
William James (1842-1910), the father of modern Psychology, said, There’s nothing so absurd that if you repeat it often enough, people will believe it.

Thus, within the provisos taught by St. Francis de Sales, error must always be confronted with the Truth.
Excerpts from Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales …. When evil happens to you
When any evil happens to you, apply whatever remedies you can and do this in a way agreeable to God, since to do otherwise is to tempt God. Having done this, wait with resignation for the results it may please God to send. If He pleases to let the evil be remedied, thank Him humbly; but if it be His will that the evil grow greater than the remedies, patiently bless His Holy Name.
Follow Saint Gregory’s advice: When you are justly blamed for some fault you have committed, humble yourself deeply, and confess that you deserve the blame. If the accusation be false, defend yourself quietly, denying the fact; this is but due respect for truth and your neighbour’s edification. But if after you have made your true and legitimate defence you are still accused, do not be troubled, and do not try to press your defence—you have had due respect for truth, have the same now for humility. By acting thus you will not infringe either a due care for your good name, or the affection you are bound to entertain for peace, humility and gentleness of heart.
Although such judgment [detraction, rash judgment, calumny) are passed on to us by foolish and stupid people, we must not forsake the path of virtue even if we suffer loss of reputation.
If because of exercise of piety, advancement in devotion, or progress toward heaven men grunble, murmur, and speak ill of us, let us leave them to bay at the moon. If at times they can cast aspersions on our good name and thus cut and shave off the hair and beard of our reputation, it will quickly grow out again. The razor of detraction will be as useful toward our honor as the pruning knife is to the vine, which makes it abound and multiply in fruit.
Let us always keep our eyes fixed on Jesus Christ crucified and go forward in his service with confidence and sincerity but with prudence and discretion. He will protect our reputation. If he permits it to be taken away from us, it will either be to give us a better one or to make us profit by holy humility, of which a single ounce is preferable to a thousand pounds of honor. If we are condemned unjustly, let us calmly oppose truth to calumny. If the calumny continues, let us continue to humble ourselves. By surrendering our reputation together with our soul into God’s hands, we safeguard it in the best way possible.
Nevertheless, I except from this certain crimes so horrid and infamous that no man should put up with being falsely charged with them is he can justly acquit himself of it.
I also except certain persons on whose reputation the edification of many others depends. According to the opinion of theologians, in such cases we must quietly seek reparation of the wrong received.
If it were not for this last paragraph, we would not bother to dignify our detractors with a single word beyond a simple statement. But, the detraction, defamation, rash judgment, and outright calumny effect thousands of people. Thus, in addition to the general duty to defend yourself quietly, denying the fact; this is but due respect for truth and your neighbour’s edification, we also have an obligation to make further steps to seek reparation of the wrong received to protect the innocent bystanders who become casualties in the flaming arrows of the accuser, who is ultimately the devil who inspires the evil worldly thinking that leads to defamation and calumny. Thus, this blog is presented.

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