Slander makes martyrs of innocents.
According to Vatican News, the Pope stressed this during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta as he reflected on how in the First Book of Kings, Jezebel, the wife of King Ahab of Samaria, used slander and falsehood to have Naboth killed in order to take possession of his vineyard which her husband greatly coveted.
To destroy institutions or people, Pope Francis recognized, you start by speaking ill of them.
The story of Naboth, the Jesuit Pope observed, is repeated in the story of Jesus, Saint Stephen and all the martyrs who with slander, were falsely condemned. Many heads of state or government, Francis lamented, react in this way.
The Holy Father spoke about the devastating power of slanderous communication used by dictators against others.
Even today, the Pope said, this method of slanderous communication is used in many countries. Dictatorships, the Pontiff said, began by adulterating communication by putting it in the hands of an unscrupulous person or government.
In daily life, the Pope pointed out, often one begins to destroy a person by starting with communication – speaking ill of others, slandering and spreading scandals, which he said have great seductive power.
“Good news doesn’t seduce, it passes by, but a scandal draws attention. This is how a person, institution and country ends up in ruins.”
People and nations have been destroyed by evil and slanderous dictatorships, such as in the last century. Francis decried that due to slanderous communication, the Jews were considered to not be worthy of living and ended up at Auschwitz.
This, Francis said, is a horror. Pope Francis concluded, calling on faithful to re-read the episode of Naboth and think of the many people and countries destroyed by dictatorships of ‘white gloves.’