How easy and common it is to seriously offend God when speaking of the faults of others

November 29, 2021 • 2 min

From The Sinner’s Guide, page 376
By Venerable Louis of Granada

Section II.

On Detraction and Raillery.

The abominable sin of detraction is so prevalent at the present day that there is scarcely a society, a family, an individual not guilty of it.

There are some persons so perversely inclined that they cannot bear to hear any good of another, but are always alive to their neighbor’s faults, always ready to tear his character to pieces.

To excite in your heart a salutary hatred of this detestable and dangerous vice consider the three great evils which it involves.

First, it always borders upon mortal sin, even when it is not actually such. From criticisms and censures, with which people generally begin, we easily fall into detraction or calumny.

Detraction is committed when we tell another’s real faults; calumny, when the fault we mention is not real, but the invention of our malicious lies.

Thus, though we may not be guilty of calumny, how often does it happen that a person, from criticising the failings of others which are generally known, is gradually led to mention some hidden and grave sin which robs him of his reputation and his honor! That the fault revealed is true in no manner saves the detractor from the guilt of mortal sin.

The descent to such a crime is easy; for when the tongue of the detractor is started, and a desire to embellish his story seizes him, it is as difficult to restrain him as to extinguish a fire fanned by a high wind, or to stop a horse when he has taken the bit in his teeth and is dashing madly on.

It is the fear of this evil which led the author of Eeclesiasticus to cry out: “Who will set a guard before my mouth and a sure seal upon my lips, that I fall not by them, and that my tongue destroy me not?” [Ecclus. xxii. 33.]

He keenly realized the difficulties in the way, knowing, as Solomon says, that “it is the part of man to prepare the soul, and of the Lord to govern the tongue.” [Prov. xvi. 1.]

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