MY COMMENTS FIRST: The libido is a powerful thing and wonderful when used properly within the stability of a loving, self-giving natural marriage of one man and one woman that nurtures family and its life. But its dark side is that it is like a narcotic if not tamed and can become an addiction if not regulated by God and His laws. It leads to concupiscence.
According to St. Augustine, concupiscence is a consequence of original sin. Concupiscence is
Gossip is never a wonderful thing, even when what is gossiped might be the truth. Gossip is serious matter. Christians, especially Catholics should know that it is serious matter and if they gossip to denigrate even the worst sinner and do so for entertainment or revenge and do so with full consent of the will, it is a mortal sin which needs the Sacrament of Confession.
To add insult to injury, gossip can also become libel and slander. The mortal sin of slander is the spoken word which is used to ruin the reputation of a person, deserved or not. Libel is the same thing but put into writing. Libel happens everyday on the internet and from Facebook pages where in an instant and forever gossip is enshrined and used like a weapon. People are treated as objects of ridicule rather than loved as being created in the image and likeness of God.
The threat of gossip and slander can also lead to blackmail or extortion.
So far, and fortunately, no one is trying to turn the mortal sin of adultery or planning adultery into a virtue as has been done with fornication, of either the homosexual or heterosexual type. And no one is using the court system seeking to mandate through cover of law that adultery be enshrined in civil law with civil benefits extended to paramours. And post-Christians aren't trying to say that Sacred Scripture was wrong about adultery. That's a good thing, at least so far. In the future, who knows?
From this morning's Augusta Chronicle's Editorial page:
Enough sins to go around
Unseemly Ashley Madison episode covers no one in glory
It’s easy to be unsympathetic to anyone exposed by the Ashley Madison hack.
Those who registered with the adultery service (slogan: “Life is short. Have an affair.”) were either cheating on a spouse, trying to cheat, or, at the very least, conducting “research” on the possibility.
But it is the most devout Christians, who are likely the most offended, who are advised by Jesus against casting the first stone.
And infidelity, except when it intrudes on public life, is largely a matter between the individuals, their spouses and their God.
Publicly shaming the more than 30 million Ashley Madison customers won’t make the rest of us better or more righteous people, nor will it strengthen the bonds of our marriages or interpersonal relationships. What it will do, however, is legitimize the illegitimate conversion of confidential data into fodder for salacious entertainment and mass ridicule.
No doubt, some Ashley Madison customers were people we probably wouldn’t want as a neighbor.
But many more of them were probably decent people like Georgia Rep. Allen Peake, the Macon Republican who recently confirmed he had an account “several years ago” during “a very difficult period” in his marriage.
“It was stupid and I was an idiot for going on there,” he said in an e-mail to friends and family. “Through tears and heartache, much pain and anguish, and with intense professional counseling, we made the decision to work to save our marriage.”
We have no reason to doubt his contrition, and little room to stand in judgment.
At any rate, having an Ashley Madison account doesn’t prove much. Considering the site required no e-mail address verification, a person could use any name they wanted.
But we doubt that mattered to the hackers, whose stated goal was to get the site to cease operations. To us, that comes across as ham-fisted moralizing from a criminal subset not known for high-minded ethics.
They likely hacked the site for the same reason they released its data: simply because they could.
No one has covered himself with glory in this unseemly episode. The hacking of Ashley Madison was no more permissible, or less criminal, because it involved a cheating service instead of Citibank, Target or Weight Watchers. And anyone trolling for affairs, particularly on the infamously insecure Internet, is playing a foolish and dangerous game.
Do they deserve our disapproval? Perhaps.
Do they need our prayers? Absolutely.