It’s a good question whether the powerful are to be excluded from certain kinds of treatment. Yes, we should love one another, even our enemies, but I think there is a place for analyzing, guessing the motives of, and criticizing leaders, particularly in the government. I think it is necessary in order to keep government leaders honest and prevent them from committing evil acts. The question is how to do it in a Christian way.
Let’s see what the Catechism has to say:
2477 Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury. He becomes guilty:
*]of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor;
*]of detraction who, without objectively valid reason, discloses another’s faults and failings to persons who did not know them;
*]of calumny who, by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them.
2478 To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor’s thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way:
Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another’s statement than to condemn it. But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other understands it. And if the latter understands it badly, let the former correct him with love. If that does not suffice, let the Christian try all suitable ways to bring the other to a correct interpretation so that he may be saved.
2479 Detraction and calumny destroy the reputation and honor of one’s neighbor. Honor is the social witness given to human dignity, and everyone enjoys a natural right to the honor of his name and reputation and to respect. Thus, detraction and calumny offend against the virtues of justice and charity.
Calumny (harming someone’s reputation by lying or deception) is clearly not justifiable, regardless of whether the lie concerns a powerless or powerful person.
Rash judgment involves interpreting someone’s thoughts, words, and deeds, and we are taught not to assume as true, even tacitly, without sufficient foundation, moral fault. Perhaps we can assume, tacitly, with sufficient foundation, other personal faults (like incompetence, inattention, weakness, etc.) so long as we do not judge the morality. I don’t know. In what ways and to what extent can we judge government leaders?
Detraction has an interesting loophole: “without objectively valid reason.” In other words, it may be acceptable to truthfully disclose someone’s faults and failings in order to prevent some great harm or evil, or to bring about justice. How do we know when we may do that? What constitutes “objectively valid reason” which would justify a disclosure which affects the reputation of a government leader (or other powerful person)?