List of points

There are 12 points in The Way refer to Critical Spirit .

Hold your tongue! Don't be childish, the caricature of a child: telltale, mischief-maker, little sneak! With your stories and tales you have chilled the glow of charity: you couldn't have done more harm, and if by any chance that wagging tongue of yours has shaken the walls of other people's perseverance, your own perseverance ceases to be a grace from God, for it has become a treacherous instrument of the enemy.

When judging other people, why do you put into your criticism the bitterness of your own failures?

That critical spirit — I admit that there are no unworthy motives behind it — should not be exercised upon your apostolate, nor upon your brothers. I will speak plainly: that critical spirit is a great hindrance to the supernatural undertaking in which you are all engaged, for while you examine the work of the others — with the highest possible motives, I admit — without there being any reason why you should do so, you are not doing anything constructive, and furthermore by being negative you are holding up the progress of all.

'Then', you ask uneasily, 'that critical spirit which is the keynote my character…?'

Listen, I'll set your mind at ease. Take a pen and a sheet of paper. Write down simply and frankly — ah! and briefly — what is worrying you, hand the note to the person in charge, and think no more about it. He has the grace of state. He will file the note or he will throw it into the waste-paper basket. And, since the motives behind your criticism are not unworthy, since they are of the highest, it is all the same to you.

Work! When you feel the responsibility of professional work, the life of your soul will improve: and you will become more of a man, for you will lose your habit of 'picking holes' in everything.

Never think badly of anyone, not even if the words or conduct of the person in question give you good grounds for doing so.

Don't make negative criticism: if you can't praise, say nothing.

Never speak badly of your brother, not even when you have plenty of reasons. Go first to the Tabernacle, and then go to the priest your father, and tell him also what is worrying you.

And no one else.

Gossip is a disease that infects and poisons the apostolate. It goes against charity, means a waste of energy, takes away peace and destroys one's union with God.

If you are so weak, is it surprising that others too have their weaknesses?

After seeing how many people waste their lives, their whole lives (tongues wagging, wagging, wagging, and all the inevitable consequences), silence seems preferable to me, and more necessary than ever.

And I well understand, Lord, why we have to give an account of all our idle words.

It's easier said than done. With that cutting, hatchet-like tongue, have you ever tried, even by chance, to do 'well' what, according to your 'considered' opinion, others do less well?

Call it by its name: grumbling, gossiping, back-biting, mischief making, tale-bearing, scandal-mongering, intrigue…, slander…, treachery?

Self-appointed critics sitting in judgment easily end up as 'gossiping old maids'!

References to Holy Scripture