backbiting

I was reading on this subject and what I have read said going to confession isnt good enough and that you need to repair the persons name whom you harmed. My question is that obviously one cannot remember every single instance of this or who they have gossipped to or about so would failure to make reparation keep one from heaven?

Yeah, IF it’s possible, we should try to repair the damage.

I think it was one of the saints who gave a penance of taking a pillow outside, opening it, letting the feathers go and having the penitent catch all the feathers, and put them back. It couldn’t be done, so the saint used this an example to show what, say, gossip is like.

In a case of theft, where possible to do restitution, it needs to be done. With some other sins, when it can’t be done…or could even make matters WORSE, it shouldn’t be done.

I’d use that as a guideline. Ask yourself if it would even help, at this point, to say anything. If it would, then say it. If not, then don’t. If you don’t remember, you don’t remember. Nothing further can be done besides confessing, being sorry, and repenting except to trust that God’s forgiven you.

If we have spread a specific falsehood about someone, we should correct that impression. The fact that it is often impossible to repair is one reason why we should avoid malicious gossip like the plague.

Thank you. I guess I’m worried because I read these quotes, and wonder how its
Even possible for one to make reparation for every careless word uttered over a lifetime. The last quote especially troubled me…can anyone explain the meaning of them?

"We have an obligation to restore the neighbor’s reputation. No restoration, no pardon (St. Augustine). When the devil cannot devour someone by leading him into evil, he attempts to defile his reputation in order to weigh him down beneath the outrages of men and the backbiting of evil tongues, and thus draw him into his clutches. (St. Augustine, Epistle 137)

It is a common principle that restoring their neighbor’s reputation is obligatory, not only for those who have revealed an imaginary crime, but also those who have revealed a true but secret crime. (St. Thomas Aquinas)

The person who maliciously robs his neighbor’s reputation is held to restoring it on the same level as someone who steals. If what you said is secret, even though it is true, you are obliged to restore his reputation. Otherwise, you will not go to heaven. (St. Vincent Ferrer)"

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.