“Criticism is nothing less than dressed up pride. It eats up all the love of God. A truly generous soul must never stoop to criticism. As a rule, people who criticize never do it openly, but go about doing it in a whisper. Refrain from prejudice, which means to set your mind against somebody. It is very sad when it becomes a part of our lives” (Mother Teresa, Thirsting for God)
The Catechism (cf. Ephesians, Proverbs, Sirach, Sts. Ignatius Loyola and Augustine, and the Gospel of John) calls the following, “offenses against Truth”:
malice, guile, insincerity, envy, slander…
false witness and perjury…lying under oath to condemn the innocent, to exonerate the guilty, or to increase the punishment of the accused
rash judgment, detraction (without an objectively valid reason), calumny…that which seeks to destroy one’s reputation and honor
flattery, adulation, complaisance…that which encourages and confirms another in malicious and perverse conduct
bragging, irony that injures another….that which uplifts self or degrades another to feel oneself uplifted
It says, “everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor’s thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way,” so that “Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another’s statement than to condemn it. But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other understands it. And if the latter understands it badly, let the former correct him with love. If that does not suffice, let the Christian try all suitable ways to bring the other to a correct interpretation so that he may be saved” (Ignatius, Spiritual Exercises).
Does that mean we have to pretend blindness when we see sin?
“We are forbidden to judge, not to doubt; but we should not indulge doubt or suspicion without great caution, and only insofar as these are based on reason and argument, otherwise our doubts and suspicions are rash” (St. Francis de Sales).
“But whilst you give good heed to speak no evil concerning your neighbor, beware of falling into the opposite extreme, as some do, who, seeking to avoid slander, praise vice. If you come in the way of a downright slanderer, do not defend him by calling him frank and honest-spoken; do not miscall dangerous freedoms by the name of simplicity and easiness, or call disobedience zeal, or arrogance self-respect; do not fly from slander into flattery and indulgence in vice, but call all evil evil without hesitation, and blame that which is blamable. By this means you will glorify God” (St. Francis de Sales).
As stewards of the earth, our countries, and our local community, we have “the right, and at times the duty, to voice [our] just criticism of that which seems harmful to the dignity of persons and to the good of the community” (2238).
“Moral conscience, present at the heart of the person, enjoins him at the appropriate moment to do good and to avoid evil. It also judges particular choices, approving those that are good and denouncing those that are evil. It bears witness to the authority of truth in reference to the supreme Good to which the human person is drawn, and it welcomes the commandments. When he listens to his conscience, the prudent man can hear God speaking” (1777).
“Conscience is a judgment of reason whereby the human person recognizes the moral quality of a concrete act that he is going to perform, is in the process of performing, or has already completed. In all he says and does, man is obliged to follow faithfully what he knows to be just and right. It is by the judgment of his conscience that man perceives and recognizes the prescriptions of the the divine law…a messenger, a representative, the aboriginal Vicar of Christ” (1778).
Search to see if the Truth is in you:
“God created us without us: but He did not will to save us without us.” To receive His mercy, we must admit our faults. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1847, cf. St Augustine and the First Letter from St. John)
Conditions for calling out evil:
“When you blame the vices of another, consider whether it is profitable or useful to those who hear to do so. Thus to dwell upon profligacy before the young is dangerous; it is simply safer to condemn everything of the sort and avoid details. Again, if you chance to be the leading person in society when such subjects are named, and your silence would give you the appearance of approving vice, then you should speak; if on the contrary you are an insignificant member of the company, do not assume the censorship. Above all, you must be exceedingly exact in all that you say; your tongue when you speak of your neighbor is as a knife in the hand of the surgeon who is going to cut between the nerves and tendons. Your stroke must be accurate, and neither deeper nor slighter than what is needed; and whilst you blame sin, always spare the sinner as much as possible” (St. Francis de Sales).
Remember our goal:
“The fruits of charity are joy, peace, and mercy; charity demands beneficence and fraternal correction; it is benevolence; it fosters reciprocity and remains disinterested and generous; it is friendship and communion:
Love is the fulfillment of all our works.
There is the goal;
that is why we run;
we run toward it,
and once we reach it,
in it we shall find rest“
(1829, cf. St. Augustine).
Possibly Related Articles, Probably in Need of Editing:)
PS-This is something I have to work on myself!