IS IT PERMITTED TO REPREHEND, OBSERVE IMPERFECTIONS OR TO COMMENT ON THE EVIL IN OTHERS?
19. As no one is perfect; does it follow that no one has the right to reprehend their neighbour?
This is certainly not the right conclusion to arrive at, seeing that each one of you must work for the progress of everyone, and above all, especially for those who have been placed in your care. But for this very reason it should be done in moderation in order to obtain a useful end and not, as is so often the case, for the mere pleasure of reviling. In this event the reprehension would be wickedness, whereas in the previous instant it is a duty demanded by charity, which must be accomplished with all possible care. For the rest, the censure that is made of others should also be directed at oneself, so trying to find out if you too are not deserving of the same reprimand. - SAINT LOUIS (Paris, 1860).
20. Is it reprehensible to make note of the imperfections of others when this cannot result in any benefit for them, seeing that it will not be disclosed to them?
Everything depends on the intention. For sure it is not forbidden to see evil where it exists. It would also be really inconvenient to see only good in all places. This illusion would prejudice progress. The mistake would be in making the observation result in the detriment of your neighbour, so discrediting him before general opinion without need. It would be equally reprehensible to do this simply in order to give vent to a sentiment of spite and the satisfaction of catching others at fault. However, the complete opposite occurs when, on extending a veil over an evil so that the public do not see it, the person who noted the defect in his neighbour does this for his own personal gain. That is to say, in order that he or she may discipline themself to avoid what has been reproved in another. Incidentally this observation is of benefit to the moralist. How else can human defects be painted if the models are not first studied? - SAINT LOUIS (Paris, 1860).
21. Are there cases when it is right to disclose the evil in others?
This is a very delicate question. In order to be able to reach a conclusion it is necessary to appeal to the true understanding of charity. If a person's imperfections only cause prejudice to themself then there can be nothing useful in disclosing these facts. If however it might cause harm to others, then it is preferable to attend to the interests of the majority. According to the circumstances, it may become a duty to expose hypocrisy and lies because it is better that one person fall rather than many become his or her victims. In this case it is necessary to weigh the total sum of the advantages and disadvantages. - SAINT LOUIS (Paris, 1860).