Pope Francis has warned against gossiping, calling the faithful to realize the impact of their words and attitudes and what it does to the Church.
According to Vatican Radio, during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, the Pope said: “We’d do well to ask ourselves: Do I sow peace? For example, when I speak, do I sow peace or do I sow discord?”
Recalling St Paul’s letter to the Colossians where the Apostle spoke of how Christ was sent by God to sow reconciliation and peace among humanity, the Pontiff stressed that people, in their daily lives, must sow peace rather than discord.
“How many times have we heard this said about a person: He or she has a serpent’s tongue! This is because that person is always doing what the serpent did with Adam and Eve, namely destroying peace. And this is an evil, this is a sickness within our Church: sowing divisions, sowing hatred, not sowing peace. So this is a question that we should ask ourselves every day: ‘Did I sow peace or did I sow discord today?'”
Francis said sowing divisions and discord is a sickness within the Church, and compared one who gossips to terrorists who throw bombs. Without Jesus, one cannot have peace or reconciliation, the Pope highlighted, reminding those gathered that it is our task to be men and women of peace and reconciliation in the midst of news about war and hatred, even within families.
Like Jesus, Christians — the Pope said — are to be sources of reconciliation and peace. “If a person during his or her life does nothing else but reconcile and bring peace that person can be canonized: that person is a saint. But we need to grow that way, we need to have a conversion: never a word that divides, never, never a word that brings war, small wars, never gossip.”
“I’m thinking: what is gossip? Oh it’s nothing — just saying words against another person or telling tales: ‘This person did…’ No! Gossiping is like terrorism because the person who gossips is like a terrorist who throws a bomb and runs away, destroying: with their tongue they are destroying and not making peace. But this person is cunning, right? He is not a suicide bomber, no, no, he takes good care of himself.”
Before concluding, Pope Francis suggested Christians bite their tongues rather than gossip. “Every day that I get the urge to say something that sows discord and division, to say bad things about another person… Bite your tongue! I can assure you. If you do this and bite your tongue instead of sowing discord, the first few times the wound will cause your tongue to swell — because the devil helps us do this because that’s his work, his job: to divide.”
“Therefore,” Francis said, “my final prayer: “Lord, you gave your life, give me the grace to bring peace and reconciliation. You shed your blood, but what does it matter to me if my tongue gets swollen if I bite it before speaking badly about other people.”