The Harm of Smear Campaigns

The topic of smear campaign(s) is all over the Catholic blogosphere prompted by the speculation that Cardinal Pell will not be named to the Congregation of Bishops. That specific situation attributes the possibility of a smear campaign against Cardinal Pell to liberals in th Church and is thoroughly discussed elsewhere.

It is natural that one first thinks of the harm to the person being smeared.   There’s more to it than that though.  Smear campaigns also harm the person(s) doing the smearing. A smear campaign is an attempt to defame another. That’s from thesaurus.com. The entry includes:

  • attempt to defame another
  • character assassination,
  • defamation of character,
  • dragging one’s name through the mud,
  • injury of reputation,
  • malicious defamation,
  • mudslinging,
  • personal attack,
  • slander,
  • whispering campaign.

That’s a secular listing of synonyms.  You can also find them listed in the Catechism under the section of “offenses against the Truth.”

Attempting to smear another is harmful to all involved. It behooves liberals and orthodox Catholics to examine their consciences to see if they’ve engaged in it.

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