Calumny (re-posted)

This originally posted in early December 2020 amidst all the “stop the steal” chatter – which has reached a crescendo not imagined. I thought the post worth repeating. We are morally bound to our words.

“Calumny” is not a word that finds common usage in most people’s everyday vocabulary. Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines “calumny” as “the act of uttering false charges or misrepresentations maliciously calculated to harm another’s reputation.” The word came into English in the 15th century and comes from the Middle French word calomnie of the same meaning. Calomnie, in turn, derives from the Latin word calumnia, (meaning “false accusation,” “false claim,” or “trickery”), which itself traces to the Latin verb calvi, meaning “to deceive.” Calumny made an appearance in these famous words from Shakespeare’s Hamlet: “If thou dost marry, I’ll give thee this plague for thy dowry: be thou chaste as ice, as pure as snow, thou shalt not escape calumny. Get thee to a nunnery, go.” Hamlet is basically tormenting poor Ophelia. He tells her that, as a woman, she will never escape slander.

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Tireless Love

When asked how they could possibly feed so many people, Jesus said to disciples “in reply, ‘Give them some food yourselves.’” I often think of this as the scriptural equivalent of “how do you eat an elephant?” One bite at the time. How are we to minister to the overwhelming number of needs in our life and communities? One person at a time… always knowing the we do so we the grace of God, the love of Christ, and community of the Holy Spirit.

Today the Church celebrates the Memorial of St. John Neumann, Bishop of Philadelphia and the first male US citizen canonized. Neumann began life in Bohemia. He was a good son and excellent student. He entered the seminary in 1831 for his local diocese. But in his second year he was enthralled with the call for priests to serve in the United States – especially among the German-speaking peoples.

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