"Never Speak Poorly of Others": What Pope Francis Said about This

see www.news.va/en/news/never-speak-poorly-of-others

Yes he said when we speak poorly of others we are like Judas and his 30pieces of silver.

I think what he said applies not just to individuals, but to the media and such as well

His advice is great but it’s hard when it’s a habit to perhaps talk about others with certain people. This is such a hard thing to break sometimes. But I believe with Gods grace it can be overcome.
I have been trying for some time to follow this as Blessed Jacinta from the Fatima apparitions said that Mary said never say a bad word about anyone but pray for them instead
See here to read her last words on life-
It’s very inspiring.
I admit I still struggle a lot with this nagging gossip type sin but I continue to take it to Confession. It’s hard if you have tended towards it your whole life
Also in a book I have about a woman who communicates with the souls in Putgatory she says that a sin that requires a long purification in Purgatory is calumny- thats talking badly about others!!
What I have noticed is that this sin of being a gossip creeps in almost without you realizing it. First it may start with a hint then you are talking about the person for a long time.
For me I don’t try and say nasty things but I express disappointment towards how some person may have upset me, but that is still talking poorly of them.

I know what you mean Christine, I struggle with this. I now have a very effective tool, when I hear my friends, colleagues or family start criticizing or gossiping about other friends I excuse myself from the room, if we are having coffee or dinner, I guide the conversation onto another topic or if they look to me for input I say I don’t enough about the situation to comment on it. If all else fails I hold my tongue and keep silent, I have found the last option makes people uncomfortable and they eventually move onto other topics. :slight_smile:

Mmm. Not quite. Calumny is lying gossip, which injures a person’s name, reputation, selfhood, and is thrice a sin: sin against truth, against justice, against charity. Detraction is revealing, unjustly, a serious true fault of another with similar injury to reputation. Both are mortal sins.


What I have noticed is that this sin of being a gossip creeps in almost without you realizing it.

The point is that (yes!) idle gossip is a venial sin which can easily slide into much more serious gossip and (yes) become a thoughtless and lifelong habit. Awareness is the key: to be aware of our speech and its potential damage. I am far less interested in gossip than I used to be, so I do find that some things dwindle with time. Also, I like being around guys, and men really detest gossip in women. I respect their attitude about it. When one listens to two women gossiping about another, and you’re not part of the conversation (but just accidentally overhear it), it reflects very poorly on the gossipers. They sound petty, immature, prideful. It’s quite a wake-up-call about how one must have sounded oneself when engaging in that activity.

Gossip reflects more poorly on the gossiper than on the object of gossip.

I thought these things, detraction and calumny, were mortal, depending on the degree of damage that is done?

Yes, both are mortal. (Sorry. Was I unclear? :shrug:) I believe I named them as mortal in my post.
It’s idle gossip which does not reach to calumny or detraction, which is a venial sin, but i.m.o. idle gossip is mostly a near occasion of (mortal) sin. Bad habit, at the very least. :slight_smile:

I think this instruction to “Never speak poorly of others” need to be qualified.

I have no qualms speaking poorly of the actions of others, especially of those in positions of authority, when their actions are harmful and when confronting them in person is fruitless.
In fact, I think we might have a moral obligation to shed light on evil acts, for the sake of the common good. Whether someone’s “good name” is tarnished is on them.

For example, when our President, our legislators, our other public officials, our bishops, our priests, promote or commit acts which are harmful, we must speak up about them.

Prior to the news of the clergy sex abuse scandal which broke in 2002, there were too many victims of abuse in the Church were told they would sin if they spoke up against the perpetrators – it would “damage” the good name of the clergy who hurt them. That was obviously wrong.

I had heard that before, but I think you have been misinformed, as I kept coming across information that indicated they can be venial or mortal.

“The sin can be either venial or mortal, depending on the circumstances.”

Or here

This is one St. Alphonsus Liguori’s maxims for attaining perfection:

  1. To speak well of all, and to excuse the intention when you cannot defend the action.

The pronoun “they.” (Sorry, just the grammarian in me.) Are you referring to calumny and detraction?

By definition, both involve serious matter. If I’m lying about someone wearing an informal dress to a “black-tie affair” (when she really did wear appropriate dress) I personally would not define that as “serious matter” in the context of modern day life. It’s a lie, and depending on my motivation for telling the lie and the consequences of telling that lie, it could be either venial or mortal. Unless I knew for a fact that telling such a lie would involve serious damage to that person’s reputation, or result in her being fired from a job, or affect in a serious way her relationships with others, I would not describe that as “grave matter.” More likely, one could confess it as a sin of envy, pride, anger, or all three – as an indicator of my desire to “one-up” this person in the eyes of others, and be seen as somehow socially superior to her.

Personally, I would not confess this as “the [grave] sin of calumny,” but the double venial and self-serving sin of idle gossip (along with untruth), with an intention to feed my pride or score points of “superiority” of some kind.

Similarly for detraction. By definition, it’s serious matter: it’s not about revealing that someone truly did wear casual dress to a formal affair, but revealing something that would harm the good name and reputation of that person. (Such as revealing a true fact about someone else’s extramarital affair, not in a court of law if I were required to reveal that under oath, but in any circumstance which did not mandate my revealing that – which would be almost every circumstance.)

(No, sorry, but I am not “misinformed.” ;))

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