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73. Injustice in Words: Backbiting

1. Reviling is the open and loud dishonoring of a person.Backbiting is the secret and quiet injuring of a man's goodname. Thus these two sins have a resemblance to two sins that dealwith external goods, namely robbery, which is open and violent, andtheft, which is secret and quiet. If the backbiting is lying, itsname is calumny or slander; if it is harmfultruth, its name is detraction.

2. Backbiting is a sin, and when it is done with fullknowledge and consent and in serious matters, it is a mortal sin.Slight things said about another do not seriously injure hischaracter, and may be venial sins.

3. Backbiting is a great evil, but it is not the mostserious evil against one's neighbor. It is, for instance, lessgrievous than adultery or murder. Rut, in its genus orkind, backbiting is more grievous than theft, which it resembles.For Scripture says (Prov. 22:1): "A good name is better thangreat riches."

4. St. Jerome says (Ep. ad Nepot.): "Takecare not to have an itching tongue, nor tingling ears; neitherdetract others, nor listen to backbiters." He who willinglylistens to backbiting, shares its guilt.

"God looks neither at long nor beautiful prayers, but at those that come from the heart."
The Cure D'Ars

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"Obedience is a short cut to perfection."
St Philip Neri

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"We must not be behind time in doing good; for death will not be behind his time. "
St Phillip Neri

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