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The Backbiting Tongue

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by Father Belet. Saint James tells us, "The tongue is a world of iniquity.'' (James 3:6) Without a doubt, the most poisonous tongue of all is the backbiter's. It is an evil spread throughout the world. This book explores the nature of this vice, its various species, and the gravity of the evils it breeds.

Originally written in French in 1870, Fr. Belet wages war against one of the worst sins of his 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, 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... 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 (Mt. 22:37-40).

In his war on detraction, Fr. Belet drafts into his army all 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, many others. A fascinating little book - well worth its cost.

78 pp. Pocket size, softcover.


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