Restitution for detraction- scenario


Hi guys,

A brief introduction: my friend and I are completing an internship program which involves we seek supervision from an instructor on a regular basis. We pay fees for our sessions with our instructor.

Recently we have had troubles in our relationship with our instructor and we have not been satisfied with the way the internship program is being delivered to us by that instructor.

What’s happened is that my friend and I have engaged in a lot of ongoing gossip regarding what is going on. I agree this is a sin. I would say that the gossiping has led to us both seriously considered leaving this instructor to find someone else.

Now I am concerned about my sin in gossiping. What form of restitution do I need to make? If my friend or myself ends up leaving the instructor wouldn’t the restitution be financial in a sense because it would have costed the instructor a student who was paying them fees?


This would be a question for your confessor, but my thought is that because gossip does not constitute theft, you would not be required to pay financial restitution to the instructor for lost fees.

In the catechism, restitution is used primarily in discussion of the seventh commandment, which prohibits stealing or the taking of something that is not yours. You are paying for some sort of academic instruction and will be leaving because you’re not satisfied with the service she is providing. This is a legitimate reason to leave a program or internship and there’s no obligation to pay for something which you will not be receiving. It’s entirely possible, in fact, if this instructor has been negligent or lazy, that she might be guilty of stealing from you, insofar as she has been getting free work and not delivering on her end of the agreement.

If she’s doing or not doing something that can be easily fixed, I’d suggest sitting down with her and explaining what you need out of the internship and asking if she would be able to accommodate you. If that’s not possible, or she’s not amenable, I would feel no guilt about leaving whatsoever, and whether you ask for your money back is up to you.

Then confess the gossip and find a better internship!


Are you sure you’ve even committed the sin of gossiping? Discussing a situation and problems that you both have is not necessarily gossip.


Olive, as I have indicated in prior posts, you tend towards serious scrupulosity and need professional help to see that these thoughts are not rational.

NO you do not owe restitution to this instructor. It is a fee for a service. If you are dissatisfied with the service, you can leave this instructor and go to another. You owe the instructor nothing.

As for gossiping, you and your co-intern are not gossiping if you are talking to each other about the course which you are both taking and having difficulty in. You are problem solving.

PLEASE get help from a REGULAR confessor who can help you see that you have a skewed view of sin.

closed #5

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