Friday, April 29, 2005

Matthew 18

Interesting thing happened today. Got banned from a message board and all I'd done was post a link to a new Catholic group I'm working on.

I am human. I'm going to sin. Being Catholic does not make me perfect. Being Catholic is a recognition that I am not perfect. But, when it happens, I have two choices. The me-centered approach or the God-centered approach.

The me-centered approach involves my trying to relieve my guilt by justifying my sin. I might even develop a theory of my martyrdom, or that I am the center of a conspiracy out to get me. A sin against any individuals in such a conspiracy would certainly be justified, wouldn't it? They sinned against me first, didn't they?

The God-centered approach requires the submission of our will to realign it with God's will. It seeks out God's cure for guilt, through the sacrament of reconciliation. It enables us to step out of our own skin and realize that even if there is a conspiracy out to get me, that no matter what I do it must be justifiable before God, the judge, and not before my own self.

It is sometimes a difficult thing to make these choices for ourselves. But, oddly, Scripture requires more from each Christian. We are to hold each other accountable, especially when they have chosen the me-centered option for dealing with their guilt. This can be quite uncomfortable at times. And even Scripture recognizes that it can end badly, for we are also given provision for that case.

Matthew 18:15-17
If your brother sins, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother. If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that 'every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.' If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.

Yesterday, another member of this blog decided to enlighten the members of that message board so that they could make their own decision whether the individuals should be treated as "a Gentile or a tax collector." The response, remaining unrepentant, was to ban him, albeit legitimately. At that, I felt it was my turn to shake the dust off my feet and abandon the individuals to their own folly, and only posted a note that I was leaving with a link to my new group. I suppose I was banned for the company I keep. I have chosen that company carefully.

For those who are also members of that board who were unable to view the message my compatriot sent, it can be found here.


At 12:29 PM, Blogger Justso said...

Amen to that Bekah. Amen.

At 2:58 PM, Blogger BekahS. said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 7:18 PM, Blogger BekahS. said...

The author of this email pointed out that I'd violated copyright. She's right. By not attributing her statements to herself, I violated copyright. So, I'll correct that mistake.

The appearance of secrecy is a tempting thing. Somehow, things done in private have an increased deniability on our consciences. Someone recently said that we should never say anything in private that we wouldn't want the whole world to read. I hope she meant what she said, because here are her own words:
Mr. ___ gave the order to ban D. He also directed A and the
___ team to remove any people associated with the smear campaign
against me, Mr. ___, and ___. You may take that up with him if you
don't like it.

I found it ironic that C posted that story by Flannery O'Connor and
then tried to use it to justify your gossip column. Thankfully, a lot
of people are seeing what a self-righteous bunch of hypocrites you all

Whatever sins I have committed were absolved long ago, and I find it a
further irony that you who hold yourselves out to be stellar Catholics
do not even believe the teachings of the Church on Confession,
Penance, and Absolution. You have set up your own Magisterium and
yourselves as little popes. When you get tired of enjoying your puffed
up pride at my expense, you'll just move on to some other victim, and
people who haven't already seen your true colors will recognize that
you are promoting the sin of detraction, all in the name of

Keep it up, y'all. I've found myself in the interesting position of
not even having to defend myself. When people ask what's going on, I
just point them to your blog and they go "aha!" and snicker. :o)

If you read carefully, no one on this blog has ever denied that we are also sinners. We have reflected on our own guilt, and how easily we can justify ourselves to ourselves and to others. But, will God likewise think those actions are justifiable? If these comments sting, perhaps an examin of conscience is in order.

At 7:24 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Am I the only one who noted that there has been no gossip other than saying that they got banned and didn't think it was justified?

At 7:37 PM, Blogger BekahS. said...

As I refuse to leave myself open to verbal abuse in private, I will continue to carry on the conversation here, as I informed Siggy I would do.

Maybe you should read the terms of use for your blog. Posting my
emails will constitute an infringement of my copyright rights over my
words. D's pm is also under the realm of [message board], so you might want
to pull that from your blog.

"You agree to not use the Service to: (a) upload, post or otherwise
transmit any Content that is unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive,
harassing, tortious, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, libelous, invasive
of another's privacy, hateful, or racially, ethnically or otherwise
objectionable; (b) harm minors in any way; (c) impersonate any person
or entity, including, but not limited to, a Pyra official, forum
leader, guide or host, or falsely state or otherwise misrepresent your
affiliation with a person or entity; (d) upload, post or otherwise
transmit any Content that you do not have a right to transmit under
any law or under contractual or fiduciary relationships (such as
inside information, proprietary and confidential information learned
or disclosed as part of employment relationships or under
nondisclosure agreements); (e) upload, post or otherwise transmit any
Content that infringes any patent, trademark, trade secret, copyright
or other proprietary rights of any party; " Signum Crucis
You have violated my privacy and published my email without my
permission. I have filed a complaint against you with your blog


As a condition of your use of the [message board] Web
Site, you warrant to [message board] that you will not
use the [message board] Web Site for any purpose that
is unlawful or prohibited by these terms, conditions, and notices. You
may not use the [message board] Web Site in any manner
which could damage, disable, overburden, or impair the [message board] Web Site or interfere with any other party's use
and enjoyment of the [message board] Web Site. You may
not obtain or attempt to obtain any materials or information through
any means not intentionally made available or provided for through the
[message board] Web Sites.

First, I will clarify that I had explicit permission from Dropper to post his pm, and as you have pointed out, messages are copyrighted by the author.

Second, my use of this blog is for the response to Siggy's messages, and therefore falls under "fair use".
The "fair use" exemption to (U.S.) copyright law was created to allow things such as commentary, parody, news reporting, research and education about copyrighted works without the permission of the author. That's important so that copyright law doesn't block your freedom to express your own works -- only the ability to express other people's. Intent, and damage to the commercial value of the work are important considerations. Are you reproducing an article from the New York Times because you needed to in order to criticise the quality of the New York Times, or because you couldn't find time to write your own story, or didn't want your readers to have to register at the New York Times web site? The first is probably fair use, the others probably aren't.

Fair use is usually a short excerpt and almost always attributed. (One should not use more of the work than is necessary to make the commentary.) It should not harm the commercial value of the work -- in the sense of people no longer needing to buy it (which is another reason why reproduction of the entire work is a problem.)

Note that most inclusion of text in Usenet followups is for commentary and reply, and it doesn't damage the commercial value of the original posting (if it has any) and as such it is fair use. Fair use isn't an exact doctrine, either. The court decides if the right to comment overrides the copyright on an individual basis in each case. There have been cases that go beyond the bounds of what I say above, but in general they don't apply to the typical net misclaim of fair use.

Copyright is intended to protect the individual from other's passing off someone else's words as their own. I have not done this. I have moved the forum of our conversation from email to this blog in order to protect myself from harassment.

And third, I am no longer a member of DCF and no longer bound by the terms of use, even if I had violated them, which I have not. I have been careful to conceal identities until now when Siggy has forced me to include her name to attribute her comments.

At 7:50 PM, Blogger BekahS. said...

My actions have been completely visible. I have been careful to do anything I have done and have contemplated and prayed about my actions before doing anything. There are many things I even considered doing, but decided against because I didn't feel they were completely justified. I have supported the mission of the message board in question, and have left it only because I value my good name and am careful with whom I associate. I have even included these messages in the comments section and linked documents in such manner, so that hopefully only those involved will witness them. I am not interested in trashing peoples ministries or smearing their identities. I am only interested in uncovering what has been covered to those for whom it may concern, including all the members, who I believe have a right to know with whom they are associating themselves by posting on that site. If we were only interested in smearing and slandering, we would be much more effective at that than we have been. I'm sure everyone is aware of anti-Catholic apologists who would be wetting themselves with glee to get hold of any of the details about what is going on. That is not our interest.

At 8:48 PM, Blogger BekahS. said...

To clarify, here is the relevant CCC section:
2475 Christ's disciples have "put on the new man, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness."274 By "putting away falsehood," they are to "put away all malice and all guile and insincerity and envy and all slander."275

2476 False witness and perjury. When it is made publicly, a statement contrary to the truth takes on a particular gravity. In court it becomes false witness.276 When it is under oath, it is perjury. Acts such as these contribute to condemnation of the innocent, exoneration of the guilty, or the increased punishment of the accused.277 They gravely compromise the exercise of justice and the fairness of judicial decisions.

2477 Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury.278 He becomes guilty:

- of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor;

- of detraction who, without objectively valid reason, discloses another's faults and failings to persons who did not know them;279

- of calumny who, by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them.

2478 To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor's thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way:

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.280

2479 Detraction and calumny destroy the reputation and honor of one's neighbor. Honor is the social witness given to human dignity, and everyone enjoys a natural right to the honor of his name and reputation and to respect. Thus, detraction and calumny offend against the virtues of justice and charity.

2480 Every word or attitude is forbidden which by flattery, adulation, or complaisance encourages and confirms another in malicious acts and perverse conduct. Adulation is a grave fault if it makes one an accomplice in another's vices or grave sins. Neither the desire to be of service nor friendship justifies duplicitous speech. Adulation is a venial sin when it only seeks to be agreeable, to avoid evil, to meet a need, or to obtain legitimate advantages.

The qualifications of calumny and detraction, of which members of this blog stand accused, are "unjust injury", "without objectively valid reason", and "by remarks contrary to the truth". One does not own a good reputation that they have not earned through their good action. No one on this blog has spoken one untrue word, or needlessly libeled another's actions. Our words have been written for the objective purpose of shining the light of Truth on these individuals' actions in the hope that they will repent and be returned to good standing in God's family, the Church. The secondary reason is that by the removal of said persons from such position of authority, they will not continue or in the future cause scandal to the Body of Christ. Now that it is apparent that the owner of the board has committed the sin of complaisance by allowing malicious acts to be perpetrated against former board members without correction, it seems that the secondary reason of exposing this issue is impossible. Nevertheless, we desire to avoid the scandal of the Body of Christ.

At 11:18 PM, Blogger Dropper said...

I love it. You are violating copyright by using a message that I wrote.. Nice.

I just happen to have written it in Word and c/ped it... So the original is indeed on my computer.

At 11:27 PM, Blogger Chad said...

It truly is amazing the lengths to which some people will go in order to maintain their tenuous grasp on a tiny amount of power. Maybe Marx was right: it is all about power, at least when you take faith out of the equation.


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