Is it detraction to say that someone is not a practicing Catholic?

Hey everyone. Is it a grave sin of detraction to say that someone is not a practicing Catholic?

**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.

**2507 **Respect for the reputation and honor of persons forbids all detraction and calumny in word or attitude.

**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.

of detraction who, without objectively valid reason, discloses another’s faults and failings to persons who did not know them;

The question is, is there an objectively valid reason for disclosing such a thing?

I would say it is more of an observation

we can know that many Catholics are practicing or not by observing how they act, behave, treat others, treat or respect their own Church (by observation you can know whether one adheres to the faith they claim)

and to point it out shows your observation


I have many friends who are not practicing Catholics. If I were to speak with a mutual friend of ours and that person asked if I knew whether they were practicing or not, I would think by stating “no” that it is a simple matter of fact. These friends are very open about the fact that they are not practicing Catholics. Not sure how that could be a sin when, in fact, they will not even enter a church.

Well, basically I was talking to a friend of mine about a guy I had started talking to and was considering dating. This friend that I was talking to was a devout Catholic and I told him that the guy I was considering dating was not a practicing Catholic. It was mainly an observation I made.

I think some non-practicing Catholics might be offended, because they think they are just as good of Catholics as those who attend Mass…

And some may have a reason, not necessarily a good one, for not attending Mass and be insulted that they are labeled non-practicing when they are in the position of having to chooose between attending with Fr Drives-me-crazy or not attending, since this is all Fr’s fault :frowning:

So I can see that some would feel it was not true but in this day and age, I don’t think it’s detraction as it’s not considered a bad thing in the wider society.

Well the person I was speaking of even told me that he was not religious.

Also, I do want to note that it was definitely not my intention to damage his reputation by telling my friend about this. As I said, I was just making an observation because I am not sure if I should date someone who is not practicing their Catholic faith. However, I really like this guy so I was definitely not trying to harm his reputation. I wasn’t intending to commit a sin but I feel like I did sin. Maybe I am being scrupulous. I don’t really know. All I know is I am panicking about this.

Why would you date a non-practicing Catholic? That introduces worldly sexual practices of dating that lead to impurity. Isn’t our goal Holiness and God? It is really easy to get lost this way. I know myself. Virtue and Love of God should be the qualities to lead us to know someone.

Think about this…good qualities are not enough if God is missing.

Holly, I do think you are being a bit scrupulous here.

It would be one thing if you were going around a group Bible study and snidely sharing that so-and-so has been baptized Catholic and isn’t even practicing! :eek:

But it is quite another to share that information with a friend because you are thinking about whether or not to date the guy. As you and your friend are both devout Catholics, that information would be helpful for your friend to know in order to give you valuable input. I would call that an objectively valid reason.

So don’t be so hard on yourself. :o

I wouldn’t say it’s a grave matter, but it could be come that. If you let it slide into hardened sanctimony that those who don’t meet your standards are not “real Catholics” like you, I think it could very well become grave. It wouldn’t hurt to confess it for good measure.

But it’s really hard to observe whether someone is a practicing Catholic. Being Catholic is not about ticking all the boxes on a checklist, but about the relationship we have with Jesus Christ – first and foremost in the Eucharist.

Time after time, Jesus took in the sinner… tax collectors like Matthew and Zaccheus, “sinful women” like in Luke 7 and in John 4 (whom Jesus makes an evangelist to her people), the adulteress in John 8. He was routinely criticized for it by Pharisees, who found his feasting with low-lifes of his day reprehensible. Even in the lead-up to his passion, on his last visit to Jerusalem, he stayed in Bethany among lepers, whom Kosher law called unclean, and from there entered Jerusalem as king.

Pope Francis’ article in America Magazine speaks to this very issue, IMHO:
“I see the church as a field hospital after battle. It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars! You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else. Heal the wounds, heal the wounds… And you have to start from the ground up.”
It sounds like you have an opportunity to be part of the New Evangelism!

Edit after I read your later reply: To me, with this man you’re dating, you have the opportunity to be honest about how important your faith is to you. If he’s “the one,” the Holy Spirit will move in him. I wouldn’t suggest being judgmental about him being bad and you being so holy, but instead I would suggest trying to tell him what your faith means to you. If it’s what you feel, you can tell him that you really like him, and that you don’t like for him to be cut off from what is such an important part of your life. Maybe start by asking him to come to mass with you one time… not for a lifetime. When you’re first dating, I always say that the purpose of one date is to see if there’s reason for another date. Maybe with him, if he would come to a single mass with you, he might come to a second mass with you if it goes well. To modify an oft-used quip of Al Kresta’s “Build the Church, bless your relationship.”

Don’t panic. In addition to what I said before, it is not detraction if you are seeking counsel.

There is a story about Pope Pius X (iirc), who when he was a parish priest was asked to write a reference for a job-seeker testifying that he was a good Catholic. This was Italy in the late 1800s-early 1900s. In that time and place, willy-nilly teling people that So-and-so is not a practicing Catholic would have been detraction.

You were 1. seeking counsel; 2. in a different time and place.

I can’t see from what you wrote that you did anything wrong at all!

Have you mentioned your tendency to scrupulosity to your priest?

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