Lies and smears are so much a part of modern day politics. I think of the campaign tactics of Barack Obama in 2012 smearing Mitt Romney.
But perhaps these are more a mark of our age as well, with tremendous power for evil through the medium of the internet. Pope Francis is putting his finger on one of Satan’s prize tactics to bring down the work of God.
Pope Francis noted that Stephen was a victim of calumny. He is accused of “false witness” but it is not a “fair fight, a fight between good men”, noted Pope Francis, because Stephen’s enemies chose the path of a dirty fight, “the path of calumny”. Calumny he continued is worse than sin - it is the direct expression of Satan.
"We are all sinners; all of us. We all commit sins. But calumny is something else. It is of course a sin, too, but it is something more. Calumny aims to destroy the work of God, and calumny comes from a very evil thing: it is born of hatred. And hate is the work of Satan. Calumny destroys the work of God in people, in their souls. Calumny uses lies to get ahead. And let us be in no doubt, eh?: Where there is calumny, there is Satan himself. "