Front Page Titles (by Subject) QUESTION LXXIV.: OF MISCHIEF-MAKING. - Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 2 (Summa Theologica - Secunda Secundae Pt.2)
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QUESTION LXXIV.: OF MISCHIEF-MAKING. - St. Thomas Aquinas, Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 2 (Summa Theologica - Secunda Secundae Pt.2) 
Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas. A Translation of the Principal Portions of the Second part of the Summa Theologica, with Notes by Joseph Rickaby, S.J. (London: Burns and Oates, 1892).
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Article I.—Is mischief-making a distinct sin from detraction?
R. The mischief-maker and the detractor agree in the matter, and also in the form or manner of their speech, because both of them speak evil of their neighbour. But they differ in the end in view: for the detractor intends to blacken the character of his neighbour; hence he brings out particularly those evil reports about him that seem likely to destroy or at least diminish his good name; whereas the mischief-maker intends to dissolve a friendship; and therefore he brings out such evil stories of his neighbour as may move the mind of the hearer against him, according to the text: “A sinful man will trouble his friends, and bring in debate in the midst of them that are at peace.”1
§ 1. In this the mischief-maker differs from the detractor, that he does not intend to report what is absolutely evil, but anything whatever that is likely to trouble one man’s mind and set him against another, though the thing reported be absolutely good, provided it appear evil, and as such annoy the person to whom it is told.
Article II.—Is detraction a more grievous sin than mischief-making?
R. Sin against a neighbour is more grievous, the greater the harm done to the neighbour thereby. Harm again is greater, the greater the good destroyed. Now among exterior goods friendship stands pre-eminent, since “none can live without friends,” as appears by the Philosopher. Hence it is said: “Nothing can be compared to a faithful friend.”1 Nay, the good name that is destroyed by detraction is especially needed for this, that a man may be accounted fit for friendship. And therefore mischief-making is a greater sin than detraction, and even than contumely, because a friend is better than honour, and better is it to be loved than to be respected.
§ 1. The species and gravity of a sin goes rather by the end in view than by the material object; and therefore an account of the end in view mischief-making is the graver sin, though the detractor sometimes says worse things.
[1 ]Ecclus. xxviii. 2.
[1 ]Ecclus. vi. 15.