People who gossip bring as much destruction as “a terrorist who throws a bomb,” Pope Francis said during a homily last week at his Santa Marta residence in the Vatican, as reported by the Vatican radio.
The pope also admitted that gossiping or sowing divisions has become a “devastating sickness” within the Catholic Church.
“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.”
However, unlike a suicide bomber who gets killed after doing his evil act, a “cunning” gossiper causes no self-harm because he takes really good care of his image, the pope said.
Pope Francis said gossiping has already divided the Catholic Church and must therefore be stopped.
He chastised gossipers within the Catholic Church for having a “serpent’s tongue” because “they are destroying everything beautiful that God has created.”
“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,” he said.
Pope Francis took inspiration from St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians, which shares how Jesus Christ sowed peace and reconciliation among people.
The pope encouraged people to stop gossiping. Should they feel the need to do so, he urged them to bite their tongues and instead emulate Jesus who gives people peace, hope and love.
“Every day that [you] 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,” he said.
(c) Christianity Today