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Originally written in French in 1870, Fr. Belet wages war against one of the worst sins of his (and our) time - backbiting - better known to us as detraction (telling the faults of others without cause). Most of us do not realize how evil this sin is. In fact, many of us don't think it's a sin at all. After ruining someone's reputation, or satisfying our anger (and yes, our hatred) by spewing out every bad thing we can say about someone, we justify ourselves by saying, "Well, it's true!" We even think we are acting justly by giving someone what they deserve.. Due to our lack of charity and also to our pride, little do we see things from God's point of view, to whom these are vile sins - a form of hatred of neighbor - a failure to do the two things necessary - to love God and our neighbor (Matt. 22:37-40).
In explaining this sin of backbiting, properly called detraction, Fr. Belet quotes the best men of Western Civilization: Aristotle, Plato, Horace, Seneca, Pliny, the Roman Emperor Constantine, King David, Isaiah, Saints James, Luke, Matthew, Paul, John Chrysostom, Jerome, Cassian, Gregory the Great, Augustine, Bernard, Thomas Aquinas, and many others. A very helpful book for those who wish to know to meaning of backbiting---and how to avoid it.