Gossip

I don’t have a copy of the Catechism, so I’m wondering someone might be able to share the relevant paragraphs (and is there an online version?) as I’m trying to discern whether or not something is gossip and whether gossip is grave or venial.

The word gossip isn’t used in the CCC, but I found these references to “bear false witness:” ccc.scborromeo.org.master.com/texis/master/search/?sufs=0&q=bear+false+witness&xsubmit=Search&s=SS.

The CCC is online: scborromeo.org/ccc.htm. This one has a search engine. :slight_smile:

I think detraction and calumny would also apply, which are paras 2475, 2477 & 2479. In fact, you might find that whole section helpful.

Since about July or August of 2015 up to now Nov 2016 Pope Francis has spoken a couple times about gossip, which he has explained is a form of terrorism. But, I haven’t as yet found a copy of any of these talks. You can search for yourself in the document library at ewtn.com

Prophecy: Referred to in Chap 14 of 1 Co as a virtue that we should earnestly seek, the Catechism doesn’t define that, either. And, I’ve never heard or don’t recall ever hearing a prayer for this gift during the Prayers of the Faithful at Mass. And, you’d think this would be important for the ‘new evangelization.’

What gift are you referring to, and why did you change the OP’s title?

That would be a good topic for another thread.

Clare, I think psalm90 means the gift of prophecy.

psalm90, Prophecy is what prophets do. The Catechism in a couple of places describes prophets as those who obtain a deeper understanding of the faith and proclaim it to others. These basic aspects of prophecy are included occasionally in the Prayers of the Faithful at Mass. Paul may have been referring to speaking in tongues, which is another matter.

yeah. WAYYYYYYY off topic.

Indeed, and I would expand that to include all of 2477 to 2481, and include 2488-2489 as well.

mVitus, in these passages the CCC is concerned mainly with safeguarding the reputation of others. In CAF threads about gossip, I like to extend this by pointing out that gossip involves three persons: the one who speaks, the one who listens, and the one about whom it is spoken. Any of the three, or all, can be harmed by gossip.

When we speak well of others, when we defend the reputation of others by our silence, and when we refuse to listen to gossip, we show our love for one another as Jesus commanded.

Thanks guys. Reading it helped a bit.

And just for future reference, from the wording of

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.

mean venial? (Of course outside of law courts.) I’m not fully familiar with the wording of the Catechism so that’s why I ask.

I’m not sure this si really helpful to you, but my pastor often talks about sin as a lack of love. Therefore, rather than simply classifying sins as “mortal” or “venial”, he says that we should look at the gravity of sin in terms of the lack of love it shows and the person to whom it shows that lack of love. So a small bit of gossip about a virtual stranger that is a one-off that does little harm to someone’s reputation would probably be a “venial” sin. On the other hand, a major peice of gossip (i.e., knowingly spreading a false rumour that your parish priest was engaged in an illicit relationship that caused him to lose his position and caused serious harm to his reputation) would likely be “mortal”.

Not sure others here would agree, but it has been a helpful way of thinking about sin for me.

Mortal or venial depends on the extent of malice, or lack of love. It does not depend on the consequences in themselves, but would depend on the consequences intended or expected by the gossiping person. For example, if he/she intends or expects the gossip to cause emotional harm or social harm, it could well be grave matter, which is one of the three conditions (grave matter, full knowledge, and deliberate consent) for it to be a mortal sin.

I wouldn’t try weighing whether or not it is. It truly depends on the context. Gossip can have grave consequences, but not always. Backbiting is common and it SEEMS like there are NO CONSEQUENCES. Gossip can ruin a marriage. For the most part, as wrong as gossip is, there is usually no dramatic consequence. People will not trust those who gossip though.

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