The Noah movie

I had to see “Noah” after hearing that so many Christians are upset that it’s non-Biblical, there’s rock people, it’s so far fetched, etc. The rock people sealed it for me. I had to go. And I’m so glad I did.

The first thing I thought when I walked out of the theater was: “Those who are taking this movie that seriously are too tightly wound.” The Noah movie takes full advantage of the gaps in the actual Noah story. And there is nothing wrong with that. Films have license to do just that.

This movie has nothing to do with personal conviction or evangelization. It takes you on a journey through the fantastic via the mind of the artist who created the film. Like all artists, there is freedom to explore and venture into the abstract. The film, for me, was like an impressionist or abstract painting. So much is skewed from reality, but with a beauty and intrigue that is meant to allow you to discover what it means to you.

Above all, it succeeds in being exactly what a film is primarily supposed to be – entertaining. The rock people and their story are part of the overall creativity of the artist’s craft. I mean, come on….you can’t really think there is anyone out there who doubts God’s existence or the story of Noah because of the portrayal of talking rock people. Rather, they add so much to film, and you can’t help thinking, at some point, that you are in a Lord of the Rings type fantasy.

Why is it people still don’t understand that movies are first and foremost entertainment? People don’t watch movies as their source of education or example when it comes to the the Faith. If a movie happens to do this within the context of the primary success of great filmmaking, then it will be effective. I do believe that movies have the power to educate and evangelize. But not at the expense of the art. If a movie is poorly made, then it’s a bad movie which will be ineffective with any message. Just because a movie is specifically for Catholics or has an important Christian message, that cannot excuse poor production. For example, the movie “Therese” was poorly made in every way. I couldn’t recommend it to anyone, even though the content is factual and accurate.

Take “The Passion of the Christ”. The film is an artistic masterpiece. That’s why it was an enormous success. Mel Gibson wanted to present an accurate portrayal of the events and the personal suffering and death of Jesus Christ – and he did so with brilliant filmmaking at every level.

“The Passion” is also loosely based on a true story. Granted, “Noah” takes much more artistic license than “The Passion.” but many things presented in “The Passion” are from the mind of Mel Gibson and the other writers involved, not factual representation. Though I might personally subscribe to many things portrayed in “The Passion”, I can’t go around saying that it represents the facts of the story. Much of it is conjecture is based on the personal interpretation and devotion of the filmmaker.

Though these two films admittedly have two very different purposes behind them, they are both primarily artistic expression from highly talented filmmakers taking a good deal of artistic license. They are the results of master craftsman, not Church authorities or theologians. Ironically, the mostly theologically sound dialogue in “Noah” comes from the character portrayed as the king of the sinful people who will be washed away in the flood. He talks to Noah’s son, Ham, about how the purpose of all creation was to serve man because man was created in God’s image. Unfortunately, he desires to abuse that reality, forgetting that man was also called by God to be the steward of all creation, which comes with great responsibility.

I have two favorite parts of the movie. One is how all the creatures come to the ark and how they dwell in it. Very mesmerizing. The second is when Noah tells his family the story of creation as his fathers told him. This sequence is absolutely beautiful to watch and experience, and makes the film worth the price of admission. Again, the work of an artist, being viewed as a work of art.

I think that Noah’s actions, as the impending flood is approaching and through to the end of the film, are the most controversial aspects of the film. Great license is taken here. But I applaud the writers for their insights and creativity. Without giving it away, I will just say that I found myself wondering what temptations the real Noah must have gone through during this whole ordeal. The film portrays Noah as a completely obedient man of God, much like Abraham, willing to go as far as slaughtering your own child because it’s God’s will. The writers of the film clearly present their idea of what might have transpired. It’s disturbing and absolutely intriguing at the same time. Each of the other family members respond to Noah with just as much intrigue.

Go see it for yourself before it leaves the theater (it’s definitely a movie that has to be seen on the big screen). I believe that this film will have many people considering the beauty and reality of a Creator (which is a heavy theme of this film) and going to the Bible curious as to what the story of Noah actually says. Perhaps there actually are those who will look to find out if the rocks came to the aid of Noah.

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Sex fogs the mind.

Love is in the will.

When a man and a woman get married, they pledge their love to each other with the words “I do.” That “I do” is a consent of the will. Our will is that aspect of us that decides and acts.

The will differs from feelings and emotions. Your will is controllable. Feelings and emotions are not. Therefore, what the couple is saying at the altar on their wedding day (or what they should understand that they are saying) is that they will to love that person, despite any feelings and emotions that might be in conflict.

Love is a decision. Love is also a feeling, and very emotional. The act of loving is hopefully accompanied by feelings of love, but the feelings aren’t necessary for action. Before you get married, you have to come to terms with the “I do” of the ceremony. Being in love doesn’t mean those feelings will always be there to help you with the commitment to love.

This is why having sex prior to marriage can be a very dangerous enterprise. Sex fogs the mind. The pleasure people experience when they are engaging in sexual intimacy at any level has a natural effect that turns off the ability of the will. Sex creates a fog the mind is no longer able to navigate through, nor have a clear focus for making good judgments and right decisions.

The safe place for sex is within marriage. A married couple is free to express themselves sexually within all the rights that come with marriage. For those who are not married, the sex drive is alive and well, and must be dealt with. Many have given in completely to the modern acceptance of pre-marital sex without responsibility.

However, I don’t believe people have full knowledge of all that surrounds this acceptance. I think they have natural physical attractions and a healthy, normal sex drive, and they simply want to respond to it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with what they experience inside. It’s how they act that matters.

That leads us back to the will. All feelings and emotions surrounding the sex drive have no power to act. Only the mind can do that. Emotions certainly work very hard to convince the mind, but they can’t force you to act.

When there is a general acceptance that certain physical actions are okay, the mind is sufficiently deceived into doing some things that appear to be harmless. Those things fall into the realm of petting, embracing, and kissing. Tenderness during the dating process is wonderful and important. You can touch and embrace and kiss without being excessive or prolonging. But start French kissing and you will see what can happen.

Single people have the ability to combat this. It takes strengthening the will. A strong will is not easily distracted by sexual feelings. Faith commitments lie in the will. If you profess to believe in God, to love Jesus Christ, and want to do His will, you must conform your will to His Will. We say “Thy Will be done” in the Our Father prayer, yet we fail to strengthen our own will. It takes a lot of practice, and it takes prayer to build up the will.

And the love that is true and that lasts is found in the will. Are you able to love someone with all your will? Does the person you’re dating prove his attraction to you by having control of his or her will?

Love is not just a feeling. Love lasts when it is an act of the will. The feelings that are associated with love are natural, normal, and necessary. They have their place. But they cannot be put in charge. They cannot be permitted to rule. Only your mind is capable of rational, prudent, and wise decision making.

Sex is beautiful in its proper place and time. Use your time dating and in courtship to focus on each other as a person, building friendship, preparing for the responsibilities of committed love, and enjoying each other chastely.

Can I have a Catholic marriage if I’m not a virgin?

Dear Anthony,

I’m confused, and slightly worried.  I recently read an article by a respected Catholic author talking about being married to the person you lose your virginity to, that it is a fact the Bible teaches, and that those who marry someone else are not really married in the eyes of God.  It was very confusing to me, but I’m mostly worried because I am (unfortunately) no longer a virgin, but I have changed and become convinced of chastity before marriage.  Is it too late for me?

First of all, let’s make it clear that you have nothing to worry about.  Though you are no longer a virgin, as a Catholic, you are completely qualified to have a valid, sacramental marriage one day when you find the person you choose.  The loss of virginity before marriage absolutely does not disqualify you from Catholic marriage, nor are you “too late” in God’s eyes by your conversion to a chaste life after losing your virginity.  In fact, your conversion is God’s inspiration and gift to you which you accepted, and takes great delight in those who return to Him.

I have heard this argument before and understand the basis of the argument.  I understand how it can be confusing to people.  It’s not something you hear in your upbringing, or in your religion or C.C.D. classes. At least, not explicitly.

This argument is rooted in the Biblical concept of marital union; namely, genital intercourse.  The Bible phrases this act as a “knowing” of another.  To “know” the other means that you have had genital intercourse.  In the Old Testament, you see many instances of a man taking a woman into a tent where he “knows” her.  That act is all that is necessary to be officially married.

The person in the article you read is probably stressing the point that there is something very real and objective about the act of genital intercourse and becoming married.  Some teach that there is an exchange of persons in that act, and that “becoming one flesh” (another Biblical teaching) happens when you have genital intercourse.  Therefore, the person you lose your virginity to is the person you are married to, regardless of how you feel or if it’s legal by civil standards, etc.  It’s a compelling argument because it does makes sense based on certain Biblical realities.

It’s first important to be said that loss of virginity is traditionally a very big deal, both positively and negatively.  Positively, because two people getting married was celebrated.  It was culturally as well as religiously expected that the person you marry is the first person with whom you engage in genital intercourse.  Negatively, because if you were not a virgin at the time of marriage, it was cause for divorce.  Parents would actually need to prove the virginity of their daughter to prevent divorce if a man claimed after marriage that he did not know if she was a virgin or not.  And if it were known in the community that you were not a virgin, you ruined your chances for marriage.

And, of course, at the time of the central event of history, the clarity of the Gospel writers that Mary was a virgin was of strict priority for two reasons; one, the prophecy of the miraculous conception and virgin birth, and the intention of the just man, Joseph, who, by law, had to divorce Mary when she was found with child.  He could not stay married to a woman who was not a virgin (which, as we know, the angel made sure he did not further pursue).

Contrast this with today, when the chances of finding a virgin for marriage are remote.  For better or for worse, remaining a virgin before marriage is not a priority of the culture today.  But it is reality.  And we all must live our lives in reality, not in what we want, hope, or wish.  Therefore, it would be impractical, to say the least, to insist on marrying a virgin.

But how do we reconcile this with the clear Bible teaching about virginity as a requirement for a valid marriage?

The answer is actually quite simple.  As Catholics, we do not live our lives solely on what we read in the Bible, nor on our personal interpretation of what we read in the Bible.  Jesus Christ is the authority of Truth, and He established an authoritative body, which is His own mystical body and presence, on earth for all time and ages, with a self-appointed head of that body; the person of Peter, the first pope.  The Pope and all bishops in union with him are the official representatives of Jesus Christ and all revealed Truth of the Holy Spirit.

There is nothing in official Catholic Church teaching that says you must be a virgin before you are married.  When a couple approaches the Church for Catholic marriage, there is no question asking if you are still a virgin.  The Catholic Church allows marriages between a man and a woman with whom one or both are no longer virgins, and those who have been previously married civilly with a decree of nullity.  Non-virgins are welcome to the altar of the Lord in Holy Matrimony.

I certainly understand why someone would want to marry a virgin, or someone who has never been married.  Perhaps it is a desire to avoid possible diseases.  Perhaps it is to avoid dealing with another person’s ex-spouse or their children, or they only want their own children.  Perhaps it’s just that they feel it’s too risky, or they want someone who has also exercised self-control in refraining from pre-marital sex. It’s everyone prerogative to choose married to whomever they please, and hold out for someone who personifies the priorities they seek in their marriage partner.  Who wouldn’t prefer to be with someone on their wedding night who has never been with another person?  It’s a very nice hope, indeed, to find that. Yet, it’s not very practical in today’s world.  And it severely diminishes one’s opportunities.

Don’t be worried.  You are not a virgin anymore, like most of today’s society, including many Catholics.  But you are still very much a Catholic, and absolutely a candidate for sacramental marriage when you finally find the love of your life.  Keep up the good fight for remaining chaste before marriage.

Like, ever.

Dear Anthony,

I recently asked a girl out who I met on Ave Maria Singles.  She seemed so nice, but not very Catholic.  I think she would be so awesome if she would just get more serious about her faith.  I met with her so I could evangelize her and she stormed out of the coffee shop.  I really want to marry a Catholic girl strong in her faith. What do you suggest?

So many single Catholic men and women feel it’s their duty to evangelize the people they are dating.Too many.  

You may have heard of Taylor Swift.  She sings a lot of songs about terrible relationships.  She has some wisdom in this department that men can learn from.  I have no doubt that if someone tried to evangelize her on a date, she would not only storm out, but you would be in her next song. But anyway…

The problem is not in the concept of evangelizing.  We are all called to evangelize.  The majority of effective evangelization is example, not confrontational.  Observing exemplary Christian living leads to trust.  Genuine friendship leads to trust.  Without trust, you can’t be effective in speaking to someone about your concerns.  

You should never, ever, ever evangelize by confrontation on a date.  That’s simply bad timing, to say the least.  I’m not surprised this woman stormed out. She was blindsided by your so-called evangelization because she was expecting something totally different.  She expected to be on a date, and you made her feel like she was on trial.  

You are implying she is not strong in her Catholic faith.  Another colossal mistake.  Just because a person seems to be behaving or speaking a way that you believe shows weakness in faith does not mean they are not strong in their faith.  Not at all!

So many good people who love Jesus Christ have strong, deep roots in their faith, but have attachments and influences from the world, culture, media, and people around them.  Don’t we all?  These have a way of causing confusion and blindness.  We can easily succomb to deceiving ourselves and falling for our own excuses. That leads to ignoring and turning a blind eye, and so on and so forth.  

Many people are too impatient for the real process of this primary method of authentic evangelization. Perhaps upon observing your Christianity, a person like this girl you met gets turned off.  It would have served you better to be a fantastic first date, with absolutely no hint of putting her under the microscope or taking it upon yourself to point out her spiritual weaknesses and flaws. The Holy Spirit works through non-threatening, non-confrontational happenings which can naturally work on the conscience and inspire change for the better.

Perhaps you didn’t really intend to see her again.  And that goes for people on the website whose profiles you find questionable. Contacting them to “evangelize” is wrong. Those who join Ave Maria Singles have an expectation of using the site to meet someone. Any attempts to evangelize will likely be unsuccessful. They saw that a message was waiting. They got their hopes up. When they open it, they find you telling them what they are doing wrong in their life. They are really mad.  And then the customer support team has to hear how terrible members can be and clean up your mess.  

I think it’s wonderful that you have such a heart for Christ that you want everyone to live Christ-centered lives, and desire to share Him with others.  But our hearts are to be governed by our minds. The mind determines important virtues such as prudence. It can actually be imprudent to do confrontational evangelization.

My advice is live by example and allow the Holy Spirit to do the primary work of conversion. The more you are living the life of perfection in the Christian life, the more attractive it will be to others.  

So it’s back to the drawing board with you and online dating.  Never, ever, ever meet with a woman without being sincerely interested in getting to know her.  

Nobody wants to be with someone who wants to change them.  If you persist in trying to confrontationally evangelize women, you will very likely hear her quoting Taylor Swift, “We are never, ever, ever getting back together.”

True love does not require romance

Another Valentine’s Day is upon us.  For some, it’s exciting and romantic.  For others, it’s another stinging reminder there is no one to share it with.

For me, it’s a reminder to write something in the spirit of the holiday.  So I will start with these words of wisdom:

Without romance, love is just an obligation.  

Well, it all depends on what your definition of romance is.  I think it is most commonly understood to be associated with feelings and emotions, as modern novels and movies portray.  We want love to be this way.  

Despite the romantic notion (pardon the pun) of love being a choice, especially when you don’t feel it, no one wants to love because they are obliged to.  And no one wants to feel they are only loved out of duty.  

Yet, Jesus said nothing about romance when teaching about love. The deepest Christian meaning of love is that it’s a decision, an act of the will.  That it has sacrifice for the sake of the other as it’s highest good, regardless of feelings and emotions.  In other words, true love does not require romance. Any Christian who desires to be married must accept and live this definition of love.  Life has no real meaning whatsoever without the existence of this kind of love in the world among individuals and communities.  Putting the welfare of others first is the heart of this love.  It is ‘Agape’.

I have heard many definitions of this Greek word for love as it applies to Christ and His commandment and example.  They are all summed up in the fundamental concept of being fully invested in the love proclaimed and promised – to be fully committed.  God loves in this way.  God has called us to love one another in this way.  Sadly, we all fall short to some degree.  But we should all strive for it at all times, with the help of God’s grace.

Having said this, and accepting this kind of love is the highest priority in Christian love, there isn’t a single person who desires marriage who does not wish it to also include romance.

Romance requires feelings and emotions.  There is no way around that.  Many pious persons would like to dismiss feelings and emotions as a distraction to holy pursuits.  But it’s a mistake to dismiss feelings and emotions.  God created human beings with feelings and emotions.  It stands to reason that they play a major role in our human experience.

Granted, they must be guided by our mind and will.  But we must pay close attention to them.

In the area of dating and falling in love, feelings and emotions are critical to everyone.  How can anyone falling in love without a strong feeling and emotional connection to the other?  Romantic love requires the participation of these very human attributes.

Let’s assume we all agree that to fall in love and get married requires romance.  A romantic relationship has two people mutually attracted to each other. There must physical attraction as well.  

It’s very romantic when the person you are sharing an intimate friendship with develops into a desire for physical intimacy.  This is a must!  Hand holding, hugs, and kissing are the first physical experiences of the romance.  You definitely want there to be a desire for much more physical intimacy that is exclusive to two persons who are married.  In fact, that is one of the most (if not the most) practical reasons to get married.  Physical desire is one of the signs that things are leading to marriage.

Unfortunately, in today’s world, full physical intimacy is expressed far too often prior to marriage, and accepted as common practice within the dating process. A romantic relationship with full physical expression is not so romantic today because it has led to many putting off marriage.  The adage of “why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free” comes to mind.

So today’s singles have to learn other very important signs of a romantic relationship that can make both persons say “This is the one I want to marry.”  They are not signs noticeable by feeling and emotion.  It takes your wits to notice them.

Two of the most important qualities for creating a strong, lasting romantic relationship are being observant and a good listener. Without these, instead of progressing forward with a solid potential spouse, there is misunderstanding and premature break up.

Being observant and a good listener is actually very romantic!  Experiencing these qualities in the person you’re dating can be quite attractive.

As an observant person, you pick up on the non-verbal cues of the person you’re dating and respond accordingly.  As a good listener, you make the person you’re dating feel important, understood, and loved. Close friends are good listeners for each other for venting, sharing, discerning important decisions, cheering up, providing laughter, and providing healing. Close friendship is a cornerstone of love and marriage.

Many find candy, flowers, expensive and fancy dinner to be romantic. They’re nice. All warm, fuzzy feelings are nice. Being on emotional highs from being in love is an extraordinary thing.  But at the end of the day, most people would trade these in for a good friend who knows when they need a hug, can make them laugh, and  knows what to say (and when to say it).  Someone who will patiently listen to them when upset, or when they want to share the great joys of their day. 

Any man can buy a woman things, take her to nice places,  charm and seduce her, and stir up her feelings and emotions.  How difficult it is, though, to find a man who is willing to, and capable of, investing the time to get to know you, be observant of everything about you, know how to make you laugh, and listen to you with full attention.  

How difficult it is to find a woman who wants to get past the male persona and reach into the heart of a man with all his vulnerabilities and insecurities, support him, has a good sense of humor, and wants to listen to him, rather than wanting to do all the talking herself.

Please don’t take this as a suggestion to abandon all those wonderful romantic things that touch our emotions and make us feel loved.  Just don’t forget that there are other things that are just as romantic, that get overshadowed by the typical trappings of romance.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

the love songs of the Beatles

It’s been 50 years since the Beatles first landed in America and appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show.  I’m a pretty avid Beatles fan, and like following the continued legacy of the band.  My favorite aspect of the Beatles is the songwriting team of Paul McCartney and John Lennon.

The Beatles were a phenomenon many believed would be just another fad, like so many before them, and so many after them.  Though the screaming fans chasing after the foursome everywhere they went did die off, the power and influence of their songs have not.

Paul McCartney was not a complicated person.  He had a happy childhood with two loving parents who supported his musical ambitions.  John Lennon was a very complicated individual with many tragic aspects of his upbringing.  Both of these very different men were able to come together and contribute their songwriting talents in writing simple, happy love songs in those first few years of their recording career.  Consider just the following songs released between 1962 and 1964:

Love Me Do,  Please Please Me,  P.S. I Love You,  All I’ve Got to Do,  All My Loving,  Do You Want to Know a Secret?,  From Me to You,  I Saw Her Standing There,  I Want to Hold Your Hand,  I’ll Get You,  It Won’t Be Long,  She Loves You,  Thank You Girl,  This Boy,  And I Love Her,  Any Time at All,  Can’t Buy Me Love,  Eight Days a Week,  Every Little Thing,  A Hard Day’s Night,  I Feel Fine,  I Should Have Known Better,  If I Fell,  I’m Happy Just to Dance with You,  She’s a Woman,  Things We Said Today

I’m sure you recognize many of these.  And that’s just within their first three years.  They are catchy, beautiful, short and sweet, very singable, and very endearing. These songs express the longing we all have for intimacy with another.  

Paul McCartney is the one critics claim is the happy love song writer, and John Lennon wrote more strange and angst filled songs. Like all stereotypes, it has elements of truth to it.  However, Lennon did write love songs (e.g. All I’ve Got To Do, Do You Want To Know A Secret?, Julia, Don’t Let Me Down) , and McCartney wrote non-love songs (e.g. I’m Down, I’m Looking Through You, For No One, Sgt. Pepper, Helter Skelter).

I would like to point out two songs that Lennon himself referenced as love songs.  In an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine on December 5, 1980 (just 3 days before he was murdered) about his album, Double Fantasy (my favorite Lennon solo album).  Lennon said that the song Woman was the “grown-up” version of his 1965 song Girl.

If you have never heard this song, please listen to it.  In my opinion, it’s one of the most beautiful love songs ever written. It is also quite a lesson in what true love between a man and a woman really is. You can tell he was deeply in love with his wife, Yoko Ono.  

Let’s compare the two songs:

GIRL

Is there anybody going to listen to my story, all about the girl who came to stay?

She’s the kind of girl you want so much, it makes you sorry

Still, you don’t regret a single day, ah girl

When I think of all the times I’ve tried so hard to leave her, she will turn to me and start to cry

And she promises the earth to me and I believe her, after all this times I don’t know why

Ah, girl

She’s the kind of girl who puts you down when friends are there, you feel a fool

When you say she’s looking good, she acts as if it’s understood

She’s cool, cool, cool, cool, girl

Was she told when she was young that pain would lead to pleasure?

Did she understand it when they said

That a man must break his back to earn his day of leisure?

Will she still believe it when he’s dead?  Ah girl

WOMAN

Woman, I can hardly express, my mixed emotion at my thoughtlessness

After all I’m forever in your debt

And woman, I will try to express my inner feelings and thankfullness

For showing me the meaning of success

Woman, I know you understand the little child inside the man

Please remember my life is in your hands

And woman hold me close to your heart, however distant, don’t keep us apart

After all it is written in the stars

Woman please let me explain, I never meant to cause you sorrow or pain

So let me tell you again and again and again

I love you, yeah yeah, now and forever

You can see that Girl has adolescent game playing and immature behavior. Woman shows the maturity, gratitude, humility, mutual respect, and deep sense of partnership that are required for a successful relationship and marriage.

It’s hard to believe John Lennon has been dead for 33 years.  It’s hard to believe Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr are in their 60’s.  In my lifetime, all four Beatles will no longer be among the living.  But the beautiful songs they shared with the world will endure for as long as there is a civilized world.  Their contributions to love and the human spirit through the gift of music is a blessing to us all.

Long live the Beatles!  Long live happy, beautiful love songs to inspire our hearts!

why would my ex-boyfriend try to ruin my reputation?

Dear Anthony,

I decided to give in and accept his interest in being more than friends, and we started dating.  Long story short, it didn’t work out and we lost our friendship as well, which I’m still trying to get over.  But what I have to deal with even more is the shock that this man who once called me his best friend, and professes to be such a strong Catholic, told his friends that I tried to have sex with him.  I only found out because a friend of mine told me she heard it.  It’s spreading like wildfire and there’s nothing I can do about it.  

I’m so sorry this is happening to you.  It’s a cruel thing and should not have happened.  I can tell you for sure that you will come out of this stronger than ever if you can stay close to God and not do anything in retaliation.  And don’t panic.  The last thing Jesus wants you to do is lose your peace.  Rest in Him who was innocently judged and unjustly crucified.  I always marvel at the Lord’s silence amid His accusers.

You are not alone.  Many good people have been victims of slander, even by those close to them and who profess to be Catholic Christians.  They obviously do not know their Catholic faith much at all, nor have read the Catechism of the Catholic Church that clearly teaches against this kind of behavior.

The bottom line is every person has the right to their good name, and no one is entitled to spread rumors, true or false, and risk a person’s reputation.  Obviously, you cannot undo what your ex-boyfriend has done to you.  You can try to clear your name and set the record straight.  Or you could simply not do anything and let it pass, allowing others to conclude what they want to conclude based on what they hear.  Anyone who cares about you or knows you will not allow that information to change how they feel about you.  And anyone worth their salt as a person will have the decency to resist passing any judgment on you without having heard your side.

In my opinion, the best thing you can do is follow the Lord’s example of silence. Don’t try to defend yourself.  Don’t confirm or deny.  It’s no one’s business.  Just keep being yourself and living your life.  Maybe confide in a close friend or family member you can trust to help you get through, but don’t let it affect you or change you or make you do anything differenly.  You are not a terrible person.  You might be a sinner, but who isn’t?  You might have done something wrong, but who hasn’t?  You are no better or worse than anyone else.  No need to lower yourself by allowing this slanderous activity to affect you.

I recommend that you read St. Francis de Sales’ classic book on personal Christian formation, “Introduction to the Devout Life.”  de Sales calls the sin of slander “a veritable pest of society.”  I hope it brings you comfort, enlightenment, and strength.  

“He who unjustly takes away his neighbour’s good name is guilty of sin, and is bound to make reparation, according to the nature of his evil speaking; since no man can enter into Heaven cumbered with stolen goods, and of all worldly possessions the most precious is a good name.  Slander is a kind of murder; for we all have three lives–a spiritual life, which depends upon the Grace of God; a bodily life, depending on the soul; and a civil life, consisting in a good reputation. Sin deprives us of the first, death of the second, and slander of the third. My child, I entreat you never speak evil of any, either directly or indirectly; [….]

Those who slander others with an affectation of good will, or with dishonest pretenses of friendliness, are the most spiteful and evil of all. [...]

When you speak of your neighbour, look upon your tongue as a sharp razor in the surgeon’s hand, about to cut nerves and tendons.”