Beliefs

Pope Francis: Gossiping is like terrorism

Pope Francis waves as he leads the Angelus prayer from the window of the Apostolic Palace in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican August 9, 2015. Photo courtesy REUTERS/Tony Gentile *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-MILLER-COLUMN, originally transmitted on Sept. 15, 2015.
Pope Francis waves as he leads the Angelus prayer from the window of the Apostolic Palace in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican August 9, 2015. Photo courtesy REUTERS/Tony Gentile

Pope Francis waves as he leads the Angelus prayer from the window of the Apostolic Palace in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican August 9, 2015. Photo courtesy REUTERS/Tony Gentile

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Francis on Friday (Sept. 4) likened a person who gossips to “a terrorist who throws a bomb,” telling his followers that sowing divisions is a sickness within the Catholic Church.

Speaking during his homily at his Santa Marta residence, Francis criticized people who think gossip is harmless.

“Gossiping is like terrorism because the person who gossips is like a terrorist who throws a bomb and runs away, destroying,” he said. “With their tongue they are destroying and not making peace.”


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The pontiff went further in his description of the “cunning” gossip, who is “not a suicide bomber” because he takes good care of himself.

Francis called on his followers to question whether they sow peace when they speak, telling them to bite their tongues if they feel the urge to spread divisions among people.

He also took a critical view of those who have a “serpent’s tongue” and spread gossip within the Catholic Church: “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.”

This is not the first time Francis has taken aim at those who spread rumors at the Holy See. In a scathing attack just days before Christmas last year, the pope described the “terrorism of gossip” that plagued the Vatican administration — known as the Roman Curia.

LM/AMB END SCAMMELL

About the author

Rosie Scammell

Rosie Scammell is a British journalist with extensive experience reporting for leading international news organizations. She has been based in Italy since 2012 and covers the Vatican for RNS.

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