When, for whatever reason, fraternal correction is not possible in private, there is something that must never be done in its place, and that is to divulge, without good reason, one’s brother’s fault, to speak ill of him or, indeed, to calumniate him, proposing as fact something that is not, or exaggerating the fault. “Do not speak ill of one another,” Scripture says (James 4:11). Gossip is not something innocent; it is ugly and reprehensible.
A woman once went to St. Philip Neri for confession, accusing herself badmouthing people. The saint absolved her but gave her a strange penance. He told her to go home, get a hen and come back, plucking the bird’s feathers as she walked along the street. When she had returned to him he said: “Now go back home and, as you go, pick up each feather that you plucked on the way.” The woman told him that it would be impossible since the wind had almost certainly blown them away in the meantime. But St. Philip was prepared: “You see,” he said, “just as it is impossible to pick up the feathers once the wind has scattered them, it is likewise impossible to gather gossip and calumnies back up once they have come out of our mouth.” (by Father Raniero Cantalamessa, the Pontifical Household preacher. The readings for this Sunday Ezekiel 33:7-9; Romans 13:8-10; Matthew 18:15-20)
RIMINI, Italy, AUG. 31, 2008 (Zenit.org).- What differentiates the annual Rimini Meeting for Friendship Among Peoples from other gatherings is that it's not political, says the event's organizer.
Emilia Guarnieri said this at a press conference Saturday, the last day of the meeting, which is organized by the Catholic lay movement Communion and Liberation, and held in Rimini.
This year's theme is taken from a phrase from the founder of Communion and Liberation, Monsignor Luigi Giussani: "Either Protagonists or Nobodies."
Emilia Guarnieri described the climate of the gathering with the words of Salih Osman, a member of the Sudanese National Parliament and human rights advocate from Darfur. He said, “I see that the lives of others truly interest you and your religion.”
“He is right,” Guarnieri said. "We are interested in the difference of others,” because, as Monsignor Giussani said, “it is precisely in meeting the difference of others that we delve into the depths of what we are, and are able continually to experience this embrace with others, without which, life would die.”
Guarnieri observed that the annual meeting is not just any meeting because "it is not born of politics."
She announced the theme chosen for next year's meeting, “Knowledge is Always an Event.”
“Knowledge is the fundamental act that the person accomplishes in his relation to reality,” Guarnieri explained.
She continued, “Any gesture of a child is in function of his knowledge. Knowledge is thus the first act that connotes the human person.”
“The word ‘event’ is a big word,” she added, “but we will be able to explore it at the next meeting.”
The gathering attracted 4,000 volunteers and 700,000 participants.