Why is it important to control your words? On the consequences of the Pope’s statements

Metropolitan Anthony (Pakanich): «Now, when any of our careless words can fly around the world in a second, you need to be especially attentive to what you say».

We have already talked about the Pope’s controversial statements regarding same-sex unions. The reaction to these statements in the world is quite different. Someone is trying to justify the Pope, they say, he was misunderstood (translated), he wanted to say something quite different, juggle with some quotes, ignoring others and the general context, etc.

Dumbfounded Catholics are trying to hide behind official documents that don’t say anything positive about same-sex couples, while assuring that the words of Pope Francis are only his private opinion, which is rather unusual for Catholics (and in fact, how the private opinion of the pontiff can differ from doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church?).

However, now we are not even talking about what exactly the Pope had in mind and how correctly or incorrectly he was understood. It’s about the consequences of his words.

There are already messages from Venezuela, where the president proposed to legalize same-sex «marriage», motivating this decision with the words of Pope Francis. It is clear that the papal word remains authoritative for the traditionally Catholic countries of Latin America. And here it becomes not so important what and to whom the Pope wanted to say, since in this case his words were perceived unambiguously as a guide to action.

In our tumultuous digital age, many organizations, including religious ones, are trying to be «in trend». And trends are dictated by the laws of the market. But the goals of the market and the goals of religious organizations are often directly opposed.

Thus, when hiring «effective PR managers»,any religious leader must understand the risks he is taking. And he risks the most important thing – theloss of himself. Any PR is based on momentary hype, scandal, sensation at any cost. For a secular celebrity, it is important to be talked about, no matter whether it is good or bad – butthat they certainly talk about. This is the law of the genre. But the preaching of Christ is built on completely different values.

Now, when any of our careless words can scatter all over the world in a second, you need to be especially attentive to what you say, because for the sake of momentary glory, you can bring harm to so many people. And this concerns not only the Heads of Churches, it concerns all of us. Let us remember the words of our Savior: «I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned» (Matthew 12:36-37).

See alsoPope and same-sex unions. How to react to this?

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