Gossip or detraction, vs legitimate discussions for good reason


What is gossip? According to this book, "Looking for peace?: Try confession!" by Mary Ann Budnik, she said detraction is also known as gossip, and that detraction is a mortal sin, but gossip can be mortal or venial. confusing in that she said detraction is also know as gossip. She says we have to have sufficient reason to talk about the faults of another.

We have a roommate that does not do his fair share. He has problems paying the rent etc., the landlord, my other roommate, was telling me about it. Is it evil that we mention the things he does that are inconsiderate to his other roommates?

What is the difference between someone confiding in you, looking for advice, even expressing their dislike of a person or their behaviors, etc. vs. evil gossip and evil detraction?

If you reveal the faults of another for sufficient reason, is it still called detraction. For example, there is evil detraction and non-evil detraction?




2477 Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury.278 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;279

  • 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.280



Bookcat beat me to it. :wink:

Prudence and discernment are often called for. It’s not always easy to see where the line is between venting/seeking advice from a confidant and engaging in gossip. But we do what we can.

In your case, it seems that everyone already knows the faults of this particular roommate. So it doesn’t sound like detraction per se. Nonetheless, I would simply urge caution. It is legitimate to discuss things between roommates to try to come up with mutually agreeable solutions to such problems. But you don’t want it to turn into a gripe-fest where it becomes simply an opportunity to say mean things about the roommate behind his back with no real goal in mind.


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