In Roman Catholic theology, detraction is the sin of revealing another person's faults to a third person without a valid reason. This differs from the sin of calumny and the civil wrong of defamation, which generally involve false accusations rather than unflattering truths.
As in the case of stealing, detraction is a sin which demands restitution, even though rebuilding a victim's reputation may be nearly impossible. A commonly cited parable in this regard concerns a priest, often said to be Philip Neri, who gave a woman who had confessed to spreading gossip the penance of retrieving feathers that had been scattered on the wind—a task as impossible as undoing the damage she had done.
- Catechism of the Catholic Church, § 2477–2479
- Joseph Delany (1908). "Detraction". Catholic Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2013-04-23.
- Edward P. Sri (September–October 2010). "The Art of Living: The Feathers of Gossip". Lay Witness.
- Ferreol Girardey (1916), Charles J. Callan, ed., "Detraction Cannot Be Repaired", Illustrations for Sermons and Instructions, New York: Joseph F. Wagner, p. 353
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