August's Teaching Moment

Many Catholics seem to be unaware of the fact that talking poorly about someone, namely, the sin of detraction, violates the Eighth Commandment. What is this sin? Detraction is the sin of revealing another person's real faults to a third person without a valid reason, thereby lessening the reputation of that person. The seriousness of the sin of detraction depends upon the gravity of the injury done to the other party. The sin can be either venial or mortal, depending on the circumstances. The Catechism of the Catholic Church notes in paragraph 2477 that, "Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury." What is in our minds is eventually uttered by our tongues. The tongue is a small member of the body, but it possesses great power — either for good or for evil.

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