Pope's Homily to Vatican Gendarmerie

“The worst bomb that is inside the Vatican is gossip”

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He who sows the “discord of gossip,” which explodes like “bombs,” destroying “the life of others” and also “the life of the Church,” is the devil. Not “an idea” – stressed Pope Francis during the Mass celebrated for the Gendarmerie of Vatican City State on Saturday morning, September 27, in the chapel of the Governorate – but “a person,” who is evil and astute” and “knows how to kill.”

Offering the Pontiff the cue for his homily was the figure of the Patron of the Corps, Saint Michael the Archangel, L’Osservatore Romano reported.

“Always alert” in “taking care of the Church,” he “teaches us this virtue of protecting” in which is enclosed the vocation of the Vatican Gendarmerie. “To look after this State – as Francis described it – which is at the service of the freedom of the Church, at the service of the Bishop of Rome, of the Pope, so that he can be free, so that the Church can be free.”

“To protect,” stressed the Pontiff, is “a good word, the same one that God entrusted as vocation to Saint Joseph,” assigning to him the mission to “take care of Jesus, to take care of God, and also to take care of the Church later.” And “you – he said to the gendarmes – are guardians” at the school of the Archangel, who “teaches us how to take care. He is courageous, he praises God.”

“Do you praise God? When praying, do you praise God like the Angel?” he asked those present. “”These are questions – he added – to be good custodians, like the Angel: he has the courage to cast out the demons.” Also those that “ruin the Church,” he specified, reminding that it is in fact a question of “guarding the People of God against the devil.” And “even though some say that the devil is an idea,” he clarified, “I want this idea far from me.”

“You guard against the devil, against temptations from outside,” the Pope said.  “This is a beautiful vocation: to fight with all the human virtues, also with prayer, with adoration, to fight to protect.” One who guards, he said, “cannot be, I allow myself the word, a “simpleton,” he must be quick, he must be attentive. And you are watchmen, you watchmen, with your need to be attentive, so that bad things do not come into the State.”

Referring to alleged terrorist threats against the Vatican, emphasized these days in the media, the Pope put the accent on the job of vigilance of the gendarmes: “You watchmen guard the doors, the windows, so that a bomb does not enter.” However, he added, “I want to say something that is somewhat sad: there are bombs inside, there are very dangerous bombs inside. Pay attention, please, because in the night of so many evil lives, the enemy has sown darnel.”

Every darnel seed, continued the Pontiff, is a bomb that destroys; “it does not let the seed grow well, it destroys life.” Is it “a home-made bomb or an atomic bomb?” he wondered. In any case, he affirmed, it is a “dangerous” bomb. And “there are so many,” although “the worst bomb that is inside the Vatican is gossip.”

According to Pope Francis, gossip “threatens the life of the Church and the life of the State every day.” Because “every man who gossips inside here – he articulated clearly – sows bombs, sows destruction,” in as much as “he kills the life of others.” And even if his words corresponded to the truth, he nevertheless does not have “the right to say it to all,” but only “to one who has the responsibility.” Hence the lapidary invitation addressed to the gendarmes: “Be watchmen of gossipers.”

Gossip, he continued, “is one of the sicknesses of this State.” And while “so may laymen, so many priests, so many Sisters, so many consecrated persons, Bishops sow the good seed,” the devil “also uses laymen, some priests, consecrated persons, Sisters, Bishops, Cardinals,” and even “Popes, to sow darnel.” Therefore, “we must be attentive to this: not to sow darnel” – a “danger” that “I also have,” admitted Francis, because “the devil.”

“Do not sow bombs: this is the favour I would like to ask of you,” repeated the Pontiff, inviting the Gendarmerie to “guard, to be good watchmen, so that the enemy does not sow the darnel of gossip.” It is a commitment that Francis also pursues, finding the courage to say: “Please gentlemen, please Madam, please Father, please Sister, please Excellency, please Eminence, holiness please, not gossip, we can’t do this here!” There must be a necessary determination because – he reaffirmed – “you must stop this sowing of bombs, which destroy the Church and do not sow life, they don’t know how to sow the seed.”

What will be the fate of one who fuels gossip? Recalling the evangelical passage of the liturgy, the Pope said that “the sowers of darnel, the gossipers are iniquitous; they commit iniquity.” And therefore, “they will go into the fiery furnace,” they will be condemned “to eternal shame and infamy,” as the prophet Daniel also warns. This will be the “end of the gossiper.” It is the task of the gendarmes to “watch, to be good watchmen, so that this bomb of gossip does not enter here, in the home.” Thanks to “your help – was his concluding comment – may the life of us all, the last page of the life of us all be: he was a good person, he sowed the good seed. And not – it would be very sad – that the last page be: he was wicked, he sowed the bomb of discord.”

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