Mortal or venial detraction?


I plan to confess this at my next confession, but I hadn’t planned to go to confession for another week or two unless I have committed a mortal sin. Here’s the situation: My husband and I and DIL were watching the Waltons Thanksgiving special. Erin’s husband or fiancee was complaining to her that everywhere he went, there was a Walton, and he was tired of being around her family. I looked at my husband and said, “Hmm…he doesn’t like being around her family. Imagine that.” (or something similar). I guess I must have been feeling kind of resentful b/c my mom just died two weeks ago, but since my husband doesn’t like my dad, I couldn’t invite him to Thanksgiving. Fortunately, he was going to my brother’s house for Thanksgiving, or I just would have had to put my foot down and invite him anyway. Then my husband said, “You’ve never invited your brother and his wife to dinner. Go ahead and invite them.” Then I said, “But not my dad.” And my husband said, “No, not him.” And I simply said, “That’s not very kind.” The whole time my DIL was sitting there listening and I then realized that I shouldn’t be discussing this in front of her. Now I am worried that I committed the sin of detraction–that I made my husband look bad in her eyes–and perhaps I was meaning to get a “jab” at him because I don’t like his attitude towards my dad. I might have even been feeling a little “morally superior” to my husband, wanting my DIL to see that I am more loving and forgiving than my husband. But is this really something that is “reputation ruining” as in mortal detraction, or is it a “lesser” matter of venial detraction? I really never even heard of detraction until a couple of years ago and I still struggle with it.


Veronica, ask your confessor. No one else, certainly not internet strangers, should substitive. You have a regular confessor for a good reason, so respect that.

If you have concerns about whether you need to race back to confess this ASAP or wait until your next confession, again it is your confessor’s advise that you should trust here. What advise/instructions has he given you regarding these sorts of issues? That is a rhetorical question. Whatever the advise he has given you regarding doubtful mortal sins, follow it.


Veronica , I’m not the best for advice… I just wanted to say…
is the waltons still on ? that show is old as , well younger than me…
that was a great family show…better than the rubbish on now…

 Good luck and God Bless


Veronica: May I suggest that since a mortal sin must have: 1 Serious Matter. 2 Sufficient Refection. 3 Full Consent, that it is impossible to commit a mortal sin by accident or even to discover one retrospectively. If you have to ask yourself did I, did I ???, then you didn’t. Discuss this with your regular confessor and don’t rely on internet strangers. Some of us are also scrupulous. Some of us have strange ideas. Heh Heh! :wink:
Read Psalm 138 (Aka 139) O Lord thou searchest and knowest me…
It’s very comforting.


Well, when you make your next confession, just ask the priest how serious detraction has to be for it to be grave matter…


I guess I wasn’t really expecting my husband to say, “You’ve never invited your brother and SIL over…go ahead and invite them.” I was feeling frustrated and upset that my dad just lost my mom, and my husband still doesn’t want to invite him over for the holidays. For just a moment, I thought, “I probably shouldn’t say this in front of my DIL”, but then I went ahead and said, 'But not my dad." And then my husband affirmed that no, my dad was not welcome in our home. I didn’t know what else to say at that point so I said, “That’s not very kind.” Then I felt awful that I may have made my husband look bad in DIL’s eyes. My husband keeps telling me that DIL is not going to give this a second thought and to stop worrying about it, but I can’t quit thinking about it. I felt I committed detraction, but since I wasn’t absolutely certain it was mortal sin, I went to communion this evening. Now I just feel awful. I’ve heard that sometimes we can judge whether or not detraction was mortal sin by judging whether or not the fault revealed was mortal or venial. Would saying that your wife’s father is not welcome in your home be grave matter? (Note I didn’t ask, “Did my husband commit mortal sin?” b/c only God knows his heart.)


I don’t really know the answer to your questions because I was not there and I cannot read minds and I don’t want to aggravate your scruples more if I give bad advice. I do want to tell you that I have read some of your previous posts and I think it might help a little if you read this. It is the best thing I have read so far about scruples. And it has the Nihil Obstad And Imprimatur so it has been approved by a Bishop to not contain anything contrary to Church teaching. I can be a bit scrupulous myself so I know how it is. God bless


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