Catholic FAQ


Latest Threads
newest posts



Go Back   Catholic Answers Forums > Forums > Apologetics > Moral Theology
 

Welcome to Catholic Answers Forums, the largest Catholic Community on the Web.

Here you can join over 400,000 members from around the world discussing all things Catholic. Membership is open to all, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, who seek the Truth with Charity.

To gain full access, you must register for a FREE account. Registered members are able to:
  • Submit questions about the faith to experts from Catholic Answers
  • Participate in all forum discussions
  • Communicate privately with Catholics from around the world
  • Plus join a prayer group, read with the Book Club, and much more.
Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free. So join our community today!

Have a question about registration or your account log-in? Just contact our Support Hotline.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search Thread Display
  #1  
Old Nov 4, '11, 5:41 pm
Ana v's Avatar
Ana v Ana v is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: March 22, 2011
Posts: 534
Religion: Catholic
Default What constitutes participation in gossip?

I am wondering if the following conversation (particularly, the part in italics) renders me guilty of participating in gossip. If so, is this case grave? If not, is this scrupulous reflection?

Yesterday I was talking with a fellow parishioner and volunteer -- a very nice person -- about bank robberies, her having described to me an incident she personally experienced back when she worked at a bank, and the procedures the employees are required to follow in the event of robbery. At some point, she said "sh-t", and I think it was in the context of saying "It's scary as sh-t". Anyways, as she said this word, one of the parish's yard workers passed by in the hallway (her and I were inside one of the offices of the rectory). A few minutes later, he came into the office and (jokingly) rebuked her for having used a swear word, and then said " I don't give a sh-t [that you said sh-t]". Then, he joked about how his swearing is the reason why he's Catholic (because he goes to Confession thereafter), and talked about how he hears really nasty swearing around the parish/rectory all the time.

I don't like swear words, but I did not want to say anything as they were joking around about this matter, thinking I'd be seen as overreacting, so I just smiled as they talked.

But then, he implied (or so I perceived he did) that the priests are among those whom he hears using profanity, which caused a rise in my curiosity and so to prompt further details I asked "even the priests"? (truly truly, I did not ask this question with the intention of sharing information with other people. Satisfying my own curiosity, i.e. being "in-on" what he knows, was the extent of my motive for asking the question.)

At which point he immediately looked behind him and then shut the door for a moment, leaned closer towards us and in a lowered voice said (paraphrased) " I can tell you who at the end of the hall is having an affair, and who around here is doing stuff they're not supposed to. From what I work, I see and hear stuff all the time. Do you know what person, at a school, best knows what's going on and who is up to what? The janitor."

For clarification, he did not proceed to give us the particulars of what he knows, but was simply making clear that he has a vantage point over what bad behavior is taking place on parish grounds.
__________________
ˇViva Cristo Rey!
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old Nov 4, '11, 7:17 pm
thistle thistle is offline
Forum Elder
 
Join Date: August 23, 2005
Posts: 20,069
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: What constitutes participation in gossip?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ana v View Post
I am wondering if the following conversation (particularly, the part in italics) renders me guilty of participating in gossip. If so, is this case grave? If not, is this scrupulous reflection?

Yesterday I was talking with a fellow parishioner and volunteer -- a very nice person -- about bank robberies, her having described to me an incident she personally experienced back when she worked at a bank, and the procedures the employees are required to follow in the event of robbery. At some point, she said "sh-t", and I think it was in the context of saying "It's scary as sh-t". Anyways, as she said this word, one of the parish's yard workers passed by in the hallway (her and I were inside one of the offices of the rectory). A few minutes later, he came into the office and (jokingly) rebuked her for having used a swear word, and then said " I don't give a sh-t [that you said sh-t]". Then, he joked about how his swearing is the reason why he's Catholic (because he goes to Confession thereafter), and talked about how he hears really nasty swearing around the parish/rectory all the time.

I don't like swear words, but I did not want to say anything as they were joking around about this matter, thinking I'd be seen as overreacting, so I just smiled as they talked.

But then, he implied (or so I perceived he did) that the priests are among those whom he hears using profanity, which caused a rise in my curiosity and so to prompt further details I asked "even the priests"? (truly truly, I did not ask this question with the intention of sharing information with other people. Satisfying my own curiosity, i.e. being "in-on" what he knows, was the extent of my motive for asking the question.)

At which point he immediately looked behind him and then shut the door for a moment, leaned closer towards us and in a lowered voice said (paraphrased) " I can tell you who at the end of the hall is having an affair, and who around here is doing stuff they're not supposed to. From what I work, I see and hear stuff all the time. Do you know what person, at a school, best knows what's going on and who is up to what? The janitor."

For clarification, he did not proceed to give us the particulars of what he knows, but was simply making clear that he has a vantage point over what bad behavior is taking place on parish grounds.
Modern Catholic Dictionary:

GOSSIP. Idle talk, especially about others. The morality of gossip is determined by the degree to which time is wasted in useless conversation, by the failure in justice or charity committed against others, and by the damage done to people’s reputation by those who gossip.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old Nov 4, '11, 7:33 pm
timeandeternity timeandeternity is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: January 24, 2010
Posts: 289
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: What constitutes participation in gossip?

Hi Ana,
I don't think you're being scrupulous here. My biggest struggle is fear of speaking up when I really should, so I understand 100% your thought process here. And, btw, I'm also scrupulous, so I'm fairly good at identifying scrupulosity.

First, a biggie:
Quote:
and so to prompt further details I asked "even the priests"? (truly truly, I did not ask this question with the intention of sharing information with other people. Satisfying my own curiosity, i.e. being "in-on" what he knows, was the extent of my motive for asking the question.)
Yes, this would certainly be participation in gossip. I can't tell you whether you've committed a mortal sin, because I don't know whether or not you met the "knowledge" criteria (you didn't give enough info for me to be able to tell to any extent), but this would be objectively grave matter. He has absolutely no business smearing others' character--especially that of priests--and to have encouraged that was a mistake. In the future, I'd say something like, "Oh wow, that's just too bad. It really makes me sad to hear that." This usually makes people think twice about why they're saying something. Then change the subject. One priest told me of an effective, funny, and non-confrontational method that he uses to change the subject when people are gossiping or talking about inappropriate stuff: if this is happening in the middle of the summer, he looks up at the sky and says, "Hey, I wonder if it's going to snow tonight!" People get the point, they laugh, and they stop their gossip. Since winter's coming on, I suppose that could be translated to, "Hey, I wonder if my tulips are coming up!"

Quote:
A few minutes later, he came into the office and (jokingly) rebuked her for having used a swear word, and then said " I don't give a sh-t [that you said sh-t]". Then, he joked about how his swearing is the reason why he's Catholic (because he goes to Confession thereafter), and talked about how he hears really nasty swearing around the parish/rectory all the time.
It probably wouldn't have been totally effective to correct him on this right then and there. If you're in a position to do so, take him aside privately and mention your concern that he seems to be treating swearing too lightly and that he's making a sham out of confession. Be gentle and express concern, not criticism. Also, next time this happens, it's a good chance to break out your subject-changing line!

Quote:
At which point he immediately looked behind him and then shut the door for a moment, leaned closer towards us and in a lowered voice said (paraphrased) " I can tell you who at the end of the hall is having an affair, and who around here is doing stuff they're not supposed to. From what I work, I see and hear stuff all the time. Do you know what person, at a school, best knows what's going on and who is up to what? The janitor."
Again, correcting him on the spot probably wouldn't be too effective. If you're in a position to do so, talk to him privately and express to him that you're concerned that he will unnecessarily mention some of these things to other people and cause problems in the rectory and parish. Talk gently to him about the dangers of repeating things that will harm the character of others. If there are legitimate abuses going on, he needs to take this to the bishop--you can mention that to him as well.

Anyways, I hope this helped. I'd go to confession soon if you can--it's always better safe than sorry.
Good luck, Ana, and I'll say a prayer for you! Always feel free to PM me if you like
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old Nov 4, '11, 7:33 pm
JRKH's Avatar
JRKH JRKH is offline
Forum Elder
 
Join Date: September 14, 2007
Posts: 22,336
Religion: Catholic Revert
Default Re: What constitutes participation in gossip?

First of all let's clear up one detail...sh-t is not a swear word. It is vulgar but no one swears by it.

As to the conversation you became involved in, I would say that yes you participated in gossip. I realize that you started out kidding around - not really being serious - but obviously this playing with fire (sin) went too far.
To use a different analogy, dance near the edge of a cliff and one just might slip off.

I would suggest that you confess this the next time you go.

Peace
James
__________________
.... if I have all faith so as to move mountians but have not love, I am nothing. - (1Cor 13:2)


The Best book on Spirituality that I ever Read: "The Fulfillment of All Desire"

Oh my God , I will continue
to perform, all my actions
for the love of Thee
Amen.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old Nov 4, '11, 10:32 pm
Blossoming Blossoming is offline
New Member
 
Join Date: October 9, 2011
Posts: 179
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: What constitutes participation in gossip?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JRKH View Post
First of all let's clear up one detail...sh-t is not a swear word. It is vulgar but no one swears by it.

As to the conversation you became involved in, I would say that yes you participated in gossip. I realize that you started out kidding around - not really being serious - but obviously this playing with fire (sin) went too far.
To use a different analogy, dance near the edge of a cliff and one just might slip off.

I would suggest that you confess this the next time you go.

Peace
James
Agree.

I read a lot of silly seeming 'is this a sin' sin threads, but this really is a sin. Trying to garner second-hand information to ruin someone's reputation or occupation without regard to proof or truth might even be mortal. You should ask your priest and I definitely think you should confess, because it's either venial or mortal.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old Nov 5, '11, 6:16 am
TrueLight's Avatar
TrueLight TrueLight is offline
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: March 5, 2011
Posts: 9,954
Religion: Roman Catholic- Old Rite & Daughter of Dominic
Default Re: What constitutes participation in gossip?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JRKH View Post
First of all let's clear up one detail...sh-t is not a swear word. It is vulgar but no one swears by it.
Peace
James
What is the point of this clarification? Technically, it is not swearing, but in the vernacular, using a swear word means saying, sh-t, f*** etc. I don't believe speaking like that is a good witness for a Christian.
__________________


HOC EST ENIM CORPUS MEUM
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old Nov 5, '11, 8:08 am
Ana v's Avatar
Ana v Ana v is offline
Regular Member
 
Join Date: March 22, 2011
Posts: 534
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: What constitutes participation in gossip?

Thanks for the responses -- I was planning on going to confession anyway (concerning other things that I think may be sins), and I will confess participating in gossip. However, can I just say that I'm guilty of involving myself in gossip? Or is it necessary that I mention my participation in gossip took the form of asking a question about the priests ( I would have no problem giving this more specific detail, if I were going to confession to a different parish. But since I'll go to confession at the parish I'm registered at, then ... my confessor will realize he is one of the ones alluded to in my question to the yard worker).
__________________
ˇViva Cristo Rey!
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old Nov 5, '11, 8:22 am
JRKH's Avatar
JRKH JRKH is offline
Forum Elder
 
Join Date: September 14, 2007
Posts: 22,336
Religion: Catholic Revert
Default Re: What constitutes participation in gossip?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ana v View Post
Thanks for the responses -- I was planning on going to confession anyway (concerning other things that I think may be sins), and I will confess participating in gossip. However, can I just say that I'm guilty of involving myself in gossip? Or is it necessary that I mention my participation in gossip took the form of asking a question about the priests ( I would have no problem giving this more specific detail, if I were going to confession to a different parish. But since I'll go to confession at the parish I'm registered at, then ... my confessor will realize he is one of the ones alluded to in my question to the yard worker).
I would simply say that I participated in Gossip and leave it at that.

Peace
James
__________________
.... if I have all faith so as to move mountians but have not love, I am nothing. - (1Cor 13:2)


The Best book on Spirituality that I ever Read: "The Fulfillment of All Desire"

Oh my God , I will continue
to perform, all my actions
for the love of Thee
Amen.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old Nov 5, '11, 8:27 am
JRKH's Avatar
JRKH JRKH is offline
Forum Elder
 
Join Date: September 14, 2007
Posts: 22,336
Religion: Catholic Revert
Default Re: What constitutes participation in gossip?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TrueLight View Post
What is the point of this clarification? Technically, it is not swearing, but in the vernacular, using a swear word means saying, sh-t, f*** etc. I don't believe speaking like that is a good witness for a Christian.
The point is that there is no prohibition that I know of in the commandments on the use of vulgar words and in the case of this thread (what is sin), this is an important distinction.

I agree that using vulgarity is not being a good witness, but does such usage rise to the level of sin and if so what sin would it be? Certainly the use of sh-t or f*** or other such crass terms does not fall under the sin of swearing falsely. Hence my clarification.

Peace
James
__________________
.... if I have all faith so as to move mountians but have not love, I am nothing. - (1Cor 13:2)


The Best book on Spirituality that I ever Read: "The Fulfillment of All Desire"

Oh my God , I will continue
to perform, all my actions
for the love of Thee
Amen.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old Nov 5, '11, 8:36 am
TrueLight's Avatar
TrueLight TrueLight is offline
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: March 5, 2011
Posts: 9,954
Religion: Roman Catholic- Old Rite & Daughter of Dominic
Default Re: What constitutes participation in gossip?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JRKH View Post
The point is that there is no prohibition that I know of in the commandments on the use of vulgar words and in the case of this thread (what is sin), this is an important distinction.

I agree that using vulgarity is not being a good witness, but does such usage rise to the level of sin and if so what sin would it be? Certainly the use of sh-t or f*** or other such crass terms does not fall under the sin of swearing falsely. Hence my clarification.

Peace
James
Might not cursing be considered a venial sin?

"But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth."
Colossians 3:8

"Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving."
Ephesians 5:4

Anyway, back to the OP, I believe Ephesians 5:4 applies to gossip as well.

I struggle with knowing how to get out of gossip without appearing holier than thou or judgmental. I'm still working on that and appreciate the suggestions thus far in the thread.

If I have had a week or two of participating even as a listener to gossip, I do tend to confess it even if it's use is venial.

Too much gossip has a way of making you feel spiritually dirty.
__________________


HOC EST ENIM CORPUS MEUM
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old Nov 5, '11, 8:44 am
JRKH's Avatar
JRKH JRKH is offline
Forum Elder
 
Join Date: September 14, 2007
Posts: 22,336
Religion: Catholic Revert
Default Re: What constitutes participation in gossip?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TrueLight View Post
Might not cursing be considered a venial sin?

"But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth."
Colossians 3:8

"Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving."
Ephesians 5:4
Truelight,
Good post. Thanks for the references.
Yes I agree that in a general sense one could classify such things as above as venial sins. Certainly as a fault that would need attention. But I would see them tied less to specific words than to specific statements, intents and contexts.
However, the words themselves can certainly be seen as "dancing near the edge" which I mentioned in my earlier post.

Quote:
Anyway, back to the OP, I believe Ephesians 5:4 applies to gossip as well.

I struggle with knowing how to get out of gossip without appearing holier than thou or judgmental. I'm still working on that and appreciate the suggestions thus far in the thread.

If I have had a week or two of participating even as a listener to gossip, I do tend to confess it even if it's use is venial.

Too much gossip has a way of making you feel spiritually dirty.
These are good points. Sometimes the best one can do is to not actively participate and never ever repeat anything you hear that could be considered gossip.

Likewise I agree that hearing too much of such talk tends to make on feel "dirty".

Peace
James
__________________
.... if I have all faith so as to move mountians but have not love, I am nothing. - (1Cor 13:2)


The Best book on Spirituality that I ever Read: "The Fulfillment of All Desire"

Oh my God , I will continue
to perform, all my actions
for the love of Thee
Amen.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Go Back   Catholic Answers Forums > Forums > Apologetics > Moral Theology

Bookmarks

Tags
confession, gossip, parish, profanity, sin

Thread Tools Search Thread
Search Thread:

Advanced Search
Display

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



Prayer Intentions

Most Active Groups
8379Meet and talk,talk talk
Last by: svid2
5104CAF Prayer Warriors Support Group
Last by: Vim71
4417Devotion to the Sorrowful Mother
Last by: daughterstm
4037OCD/Scrupulosity Group
Last by: eschator83
3859SOLITUDE
Last by: Prairie Rose
3698Let's empty Purgatory
Last by: daughterstm
3269Poems and Reflections
Last by: PathWalker
3265Petitions Before the Blessed Sacrament
Last by: grateful_child
3218Catholic Vegetarians & Vegans
Last by: memphian
3094For seniors and shut- ins
Last by: flower lady



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 9:44 pm.

Home RSS Feeds - Home - Archive - Top

Copyright © 2004-2014, Catholic Answers.