Published today to SignOfContradiction.Blogspot.ca
Lisa Graas @CatholicLisa has a very useful entry on calumny (often called slander) and detraction. Distinctions in this field are crucial.
Very timely…considering I have, at times, been accused of exactly those serious sins.
As you can see, the less someone deserves a good reputation, the less right he has that we preserve it for him, and we may even reveal secret faults if our intention is for the common good and not merely just to damage a deserved good reputation. In the case of someone who is leading others astray, secret faults may be revealed for the good of those who are being led astray.
It is always helpful to know the real definitions of things before we go around accusing people of calumny and detraction. You see, if we falsely accuse people of calumny and detraction, we are then guilty ourselves of calumny.
On detraction, if someone (such as a blogger) reveals something that is true about the private life of a person who is publicly leading people into heresy or sin or some physical danger, and if the intention is for “the common good” or for “legitimate private welfare,” that is not detraction. Just revealing something that was private is not, in and of itself, detraction. It is only detraction if it does not serve the common good or the legitimate private welfare of the person being spoken about or someone else.
Is there a lot of calumny and detraction in the blogosphere? I don’t think so. If there is, however, then the best way to deal with it is to explain what calumny and detraction are and let people decide for themselves if they are guilty, not to accuse people.
Read her full posting here.