Sin of Detraction


#1

What is the definition of the Sin of detraction? Does something has to cause harm? What if a person was shocked by an apathetic attitude of an anonimous group of people and they communicated this shock to their frineds? In this case know one’s reputation is harmed because the names of the group members are unknown. What if, in this same situation, the person mocked this attitude of apathy; would it reach that level of mortal sin?

Also, what if a person is around a group that is gossiping and they decide not to say anything to avoid sinning. Eventually someone says something about someone that this person agrees with. As a result, they instantly show that they agree. Immediately afterwards, they realize that they shouldn’t have done that. In this sitaution, how guilty would this person be?


#2

Well, in the second bit, if one is around a group that is gossiping and wants to avoid sin, then that person should leave the area if at all possible. Why linger if there may be the temptation (or opportunity) to sin?


#3

Well in the second option, I was thinking the situation would be one in which the person couldn't leave. For example, the people gossiping are sitting next to the person in a class room, during class.


#4

If it's during class, why are they gossiping instead of paying attention to the teacher? If it's the teacher, ask if this relates in any way to the subject.


#5

It was in between topics and it didn’t take up a large part of the class. The gossip occured over a ten second period of time. Also, it did slightly relate to the subject.


#6

Detraction involves disclosing anothers faults --without an objectively valid reason-- to those who do not know....

If I tell you that Bob lied to his Mother just cause I think it is something to talk about I am committing detraction.

If I tell the teacher that John cheated on the test for the good of John and for justice that can be an objectively valid reason...


#7

So if you were to talk about something someone did, without mentioning their name, would that then not be detraction? For example, would it be okay to say, "I know someone (this person's identity is never disclosed) who did X."?


#8

(and of course there is venial detraction and then there is grave detraction like ruining a persons name....)


#9

Great topic. Good sin to focus on.

A priest I know mentioned during a mediation a great goal to go after...the extinguishing of INTERIOR complaint and detraction.

Interior. "Resolve to engage in not one nanosecond of interior complaint..check yourself on this daily"


#10

quote="Bookcat, post:8, topic:327110"

[/quote]

Does this mean that if the detraction causes no harm to a person's reputation or only damages it slightly, than the sin is venial?


#11

One has to judge the particular "detraction".

Some can be venial and some can be grave.

All of course is to be avoided entirely (but I know that goes without saying).


#12

[quote="C794, post:10, topic:327110"]
Does this mean that if the detraction causes no harm to a person's reputation or only damages it slightly, than the sin is venial?

[/quote]

I wold not quite out it that way.

One has to judge the particular "detraction".

Some can be venial and some can be grave.

All of course is to be avoided entirely (but I know that goes without saying).


#13

[quote="C794, post:1, topic:327110"]
What is the definition of the Sin of detraction? Does something has to cause harm? What if a person was shocked by an apathetic attitude of an anonimous group of people and they communicated this shock to their frineds? In this case know one's reputation is harmed because the names of the group members are unknown. What if, in this same situation, the person mocked this attitude of apathy; would it reach that level of mortal sin?

Also, what if a person is around a group that is gossiping and they decide not to say anything to avoid sinning. Eventually someone says something about someone that this person agrees with. As a result, they instantly show that they agree. Immediately afterwards, they realize that they shouldn't have done that. In this sitaution, how guilty would this person be?

[/quote]

Detraction is revealing something about another that is true but harmful to that person's reputation. It is forbidden to reveal another person's secret faults or defects, unless there is proportionate good involved. The fact that something is true does not, of itself, justify its disclosure. Detraction is a sin against justice. It robs one of what most people consider more important than riches, since a person has a strict right to his or her reputation whether it is deserved or not.


#14

Then if the identity of the person being talked about is unknown' does that mean the sin a retraction wasn't committed? If no one knows who's being talked about that person's reputation would be unharmed. If it was an anonymous group being talked about versus a single person then the damage would be even less.


#15

But why go there? If you don’t mention a name, what’s to say that next time you might? Or that someone else might. I think it hurts your own reputation because it becomes known that you blab about others behind their back. So who will trust you with anything? If you say, “Somebody lied about the test,” or whatever, then everyone will be looking over their shoulder wondering if you are watching them. :frowning:


#16

It wasn't like that. I don't talk about people outside of responding to what people say and I've been working on decreasing that. Right now it's mostly just accidental slip ups.

The situation I'm refering to relates more to suprising attitude me and a group found while doing an experiment for statistics. We were testing to see how willing the students were to help someone in need. We found that most weren't. The reason I talked about this was more to tell people the shocking attitudes we found within our school. I never intended to reveal anything about an individual person or to harm someone's reputation. Within my group I made some comments about being unwilling to help like most of our fellow students.

The other situation refers to someone identifying a person from our junior high as likely to be a criminal. This caused me to remember him threatening someone I knew a long time ago and caused me to show agreement. I didn't think about what I did until after the fact. Prior to that point I was trying not to engage in the conversation. After I made the acknowledgement I realized my mistake and withdrew from the rest of it.

Then I guess there's another situation where I kind of fall into the same thing. When I hear someone mention an illogical argument presented by a group, I may mock the argument or make sarcastic comments bout it sounding intelligent.

Would any of these things be mortal sins? I need to know so that I have a template to work with. Right now I can only recieve communion every other week because I don't know if I need to go to confession. It would be embarrasing to go once a week. Plus if these are mortal sins then I'd still need to explain why I was constantly going to confession (this wouldn't be easy). I know I should take this to a priest, but I don't have anyone who could act as my confessor. I have a choice between a pirest I'm not sure I trust to be orthodox and one that I don't know.


#17

I just wanted to add an apology for asking these questions. I know they're probably irritating to answer; the problem is that, like I said, I have no where else to go with them. Eventually I'll find a good priest and won't have to bother you all with them. So thanks for tolerating them and again I'm sorry r for asking so many.


#18

There’s a personal defect known as loquacity…saying more than needs to be said.

Some people say more than needs to be said out of vanity…wanting to be known or seen as someone in the know, connected, “valuable”…they go on for too long…

Other people say too much out of pride…needing to put just their spin on some matter…the conversation is just not quite right until they get their say on the matter.

Other people say too much out of “comfort”…needing to fill in the empty spaces in conversation…a sort of conversational or interpersonal tension builds up…and all of a sudden they have to say something to sort of ease their sense of tension.

Some of these points apply in the case of detraction.

A good test is to ask oneself: does justice demand that I say something? When you ask this question it’s often the case that you end up saying less…and not adding that last bit of comment which often can be a detraction. When we’ve said our main point…and then find ourselves with a bit of building tension…then we often say more than justice demands…and a detraction pops out.

I wouldn’t worry about the dividing line between venal and moral sin in these cases. Maybe instead invite Our Lord or Mary into your conversations, as “one more participant”. And you’ll find yourself perhaps adding warmth to the tone of conversations…adding Mary’s sweetness and tenderness…and the detractions will diminish quickly.


#19

Thanks; I'll take that advice. This is really something I want to stop doing. Would you suggest that I abstain from the Eucharist until I can go to confession?


#20

[quote="C794, post:19, topic:327110"]
Thanks; I'll take that advice. This is really something I want to stop doing. Would you suggest that I abstain from the Eucharist until I can go to confession?

[/quote]

I am sorry..I can't answer that...I think if you're sort of just now examining what you've done in the past...in light of what you've learned recently, I'd say don't stop getting close to Jesus in the Eucharist...He greatly desires the unity He gives you. I mean if until recently you've never considered this to be a serious sin...I can't see how you'd really be considered to have given "full assent" to it. But that's for you and a priest to sort out.

Just make a short perfect act of Contrition (i.e., sorrow for the injury to God..not simply sorrow for our falling short, or whatever personal sorrow we may have), perhaps..and then next time you can get to Confession...seek union and mercy with the Lord in that Sacrament too!

Also remember..childlike simplicity and conversation with our Father God....and this will keep us from scrupulosity. We are all fallen. And it's His mercy that heals us...we please Him greatly when we struggle home to Him and ask for help!!!

I've read somewhere a mystic describing that God loves us so much it's actually an "unburdening" to Him when we crawl to Him in prayer to ask for help and forgiveness.

Imagine the greatness of God..."an unburdening"!! when we are simple and sincere with Him.

God Bless.


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