Many evil effects of speaking evil of others

November 30, 2021 • 2 min

From The Sinner’s Guide, page 377
By Venerable Louis of Granada

The second evil of this vice consists in the threefold injury which it inflicts—namely, on the one who speaks, on him who listens with approval, and on the victim who is assailed in his absence.

In addition to this the person who complacently listens to detraction is frequently a tale-bearer. To ingratiate himself with the victims of the detraction he carries to them all that has been said against them, and thus excites enmities which are seldom extinguished, and which sometimes end even in bloodshed.

“The whisperer and the double-tongued is accursed,” we are told in the Sacred Scriptures, “for he hath troubled many that were at peace.” [Ecclus. xxviii. 15.]

To teach us the baneful effects of this insidious vice the Holy Ghost compares it at one time to the swift blow of a “sharp razor,” [Ps. li. 2.] at another time to the bite of the poisonous asp, [Ps. xiii. 3.] which disappears, but leaves its venom in the wound.

With reason, then, did the author of Ecclesiasticus say: “The stroke of a whip maketh a blue mark, but the stroke of the tongue will break the bones.” [Ecclus. xxviii. 21.]

The third evil of this vice is the horror it inspires and the infamy which it brings upon us.

Men fly from a detractor as naturally as they would from a venomous serpent. “A man full of tongue,” says Holy Scripture, “is terrible in his city, and he that is rash in his word shall be hateful.” [Ecclus. ix. 25.]

Are not these evils sufficient to make you abhor a vice so injurious and so unprofitable? Why will you make yourself odious in the sight of God and men for a sin from which you can reap no advantage?

Remember, moreover, that in no other vice do we so quickly form a habit, for every time we speak with others we expose ourselves to the danger of relapsing.

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