Our Members' Blogs

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Sins of speech and the golden key

By Barbara A. Schoeneberger

File:Rudolf von Ottenfeld-Discussion.jpg
Discussion by von Ottenfield (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons).

The inimitable Msgr. Charles Pope has an excellent post all of us can benefit from. Lord, Keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth: Reflections on Common Sins of Speech will have many readers squirming. We don’t hear often from the pulpit about the pitfalls of the wagging tongue, but we should, because we all fail to exercise the degree of discretion we ought when it comes to our speech. St. James wrote quite a bit about this in his epistle in the New Testament, and the book of Proverbs in the Old Testament contains multiple cautions against evil speech.

Convents and monasteries have good reasons to limit speaking freely to hours set for recreation, and allowing only talk that is necessary to perform duties at other times. Sins of speech where people live in close quarters behind cloister walls can poison an entire community. Perhaps family life might be calmer in some homes if parents instituted something similar to eradicate the undercurrent of maliciousness in communication that is a hallmark of sibling rivalry or of a weakening relationship between Mom and Dad.

The work place is a more difficult challenge but not impossible when it comes to guarding one’s tongue, this because many people today aren’t concerned with the things of God and are in full pursuit of fleshly desires. If we become known as someone who speaks when necessary, says the truth to another in a way that is constructive, and encourages others rather than tearing them down, we will have accomplished a great deal towards bringing peace to what is often a pit of complaints, double dealing, laziness, and outright spite.

Continue reading at Barbara's blog  Suffering with Joy.


  1. Excellent article and always pertinent. I worked in a toxic environment that literally sucked the life out of people each and every day. There were those who tried to be positive and made the effort to build their co-workers up, it was a huge challenge. It is all too easy to develop a mindset that you push yourself up by pressing others down. Thank You for this reminder!

  2. You're welcome. I worked in several toxic environments and always managed to be trusted because I wasn't after power, I wanted co-workers and subordinates to be happy and develop skills. We don't often think of sinning at work, but we sure can commit a lot of them there.


Please keep your comments charitable and free of bad language. Thanks!