s we all know, God gives us all that we need for life, whether it be our bodily, spiritual or civil life. But very often we abuse these gifts and commit crimes against Him. Most of us quickly recognize the numerous and grievous sins, committed against bodily and spiritual life, e.g., against the fifth and seventh commandments, such as abortion and religious indifference. Too often, however, we overlook the crimes committed against civil life which are much more numerous, can be just as grievous, and which we ourselves are often guilty of. I speak here of sins committed against the honor and good name of our neighbor, which are protected by the eighth commandment: "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor." This commandment not only forbids false evidence given under oath but also those offenses against truth and our neighbor's character. Generally speaking there are two sins against truth. The most common of these is lying by which we knowingly and deliberately say what is not true. The other, hypocrisy, offends truth by our pretending to be better or more pious than we are in order thereby to deceive others. A lie attacks the truth by means of words, be they spoken or written; but hypocrisy works by acts and deeds, by general demeanor, by what it does not do and sometimes even by tears and works of penance. Thus Truth is wounded even more deeply by hypocrisy than by lying since it uses the cloak of virtue, piety, faith, and justice to conceal its immorality and accomplish its wicked designs. In considering the offenses against our neighbor's character, we see a large variety of sins which can also be classified under several general titles. The first is the sin of detraction, by which we reveal, without necessity, the hidden faults our neighbor has truly committed. By this sin our neighbor's good reputation suffers, is lessened, wounded and may even be destroyed. Another offense is the sin of calumny, by which faults are imputed to our neighbor that he does not have or real faults are exaggerated. Calumny may also represent something that has happened once as being frequent or habitual, make what was trifling appear to be of great importance, or supply an evil motive for quite unintentional acts. Also there is the offense of tale-bearing whereby, with evil motives, we repeat to another what someone else has said against them. Injurious words differ from those spoken of so far in that they are done in our neighbor's presence, to his very face. Lastly we can consider the offenses against the character of our neighbor under the titles of false suspicion and rash judgement. Unlike the previous they do not consist of words but of thoughts and we are guilty of them when we think ill of our neighbor, without sufficient grounds. False suspicion only supposes and thinks probable what is evil; while rash judgement holds it to be true and certain. These and other sins are very detrimental to the proper peace and order of civil life and too often are found even among "those of the household of the Faith." How often do we set ourselves up as the censors of our neighbor, habitually criticizing their faults and imperfections? We don't hesitate to attribute unworthy motives even to their good actions. Or we sometimes affect a sublime pity, like the Pharisee, for the poverty and weakness of others, and thank God that we are not like them. At other times we praise our neighbors' virtues, merely to get an opportunity of showing their imperfections, or speak about them sarcastically in order to wound their reputations seriously. Contentions, jealousies and envies often distract the civil life of our parishes and change even the paradise of family life into perpetual misery. During this month of October let us make the effort to overcome our shortcomings in these areas. Let us make proper use of our tongues to sing the praises of God, especially by the faithful daily recitation of the Holy Rosary. It will help to bring peace to our souls and eventually spread it to our families, parishes, and even throughout the world. Sincerely yours in Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary,
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