Fr. Aidan Writes:
Gossip is a sin. I am writing this to you because our parish, like others, is not immune to it. On the 10th of May I had a medical operation– day surgery. That meant I was easily able to return home on the same day. By Friday, the rumor-mill had ground away and the parish was being inundated with messages and questions about my “terrible ordeal”, that I had a really bad time of coming out of the anesthetic and that I was gravely ill (gravely means near death!). None of it was true and yet somehow it was flying around the parish. As per my message announced at all Masses last weekend, the operation was successful, my surgeon was happy with the procedure, and I had no problems with anesthetic, walking, breath- ing or any such issues. The procedure will take some time to take full effect, so I am taking sick leave until the end of the month; don’t gossip about me, just pray for me, please.
But how does this rumor-mill happen? Firstly, we all have concerns for each other, which is a good thing. But certain things, such as health matters, are solely the purview of the person suffering, and they – and only they – should have control of any information about it. Secondly, like nature itself, people abhor a vacuum, in this case of knowledge. This engenders a general desire to know something. But then comes the worse, interfering desire to fill in the gaps in any piece of information with fabrication and eventually nonsense and twaddle or, in the worst cases, defamation and detraction. Thirdly, there is the desire to be the one with the inside knowledge of something Juicy! That is the old “knowledge as power” game. Finally, the last phase is the spreading of the rumor as gossip. Resist! Please don’t! So much of our national discourse, our social and political lunacy, is based on gossip and not fact. This is ruining much of our public life. Alternative facts, reporters purveying lies on TV, the threat of AI creating its own truth and obscuring real facts, all are forms of gossip and are sinful. We live in an age where discovering truth is becoming all the more difficult, and we must not be contributors to this. Thank you.
God bless you and your families, Fr Aidan-Peter CJ
May God bless you, your families, and the week ahead,
Fr Aidan Peter