Pope Francis, during his homily at morning Mass on 13 September, has again stated the dangers of gossip and even suggested that gossip has a criminal aspect to it.
The Pope, who never shies away from delving into the nitty-gritty of day-to-day life, has previously stated the dangers of matters such as gossip and complaining. He said “those who live judging their neighbour, speaking ill of their neighbour, are hypocrites, because they lack the strength and courage to look to their own shortcomings. The Lord does not waste many words on this concept. He says that he who has hatred in his heart for his brother is a murderer.”
The Pope also quoted John the Apostle who said “anyone who has hatred for his brother is a murderer, he walks in darkness, he who judges his brother walks in darkness.”
In a nutshell, the Pope is saying we kill our brother when we speak ill of him. Hard to take? Perhaps, but the Holy Father is only repeating what Jesus himself said. If we are not prepared to listen to Jesus then who are we prepared to listen to?
The Pope suggested that gossip always has a criminal side to it and that there is no such thing as innocent gossip. As an alternative to gossip the Pope suggested we pray for our brother or sister and then, if necessary, speak to them openly about any issues. This, the Pope suggests, is better than telling everyone! Surely if we love our neighbour; and this is what God expects of all of us, then we will not be inclined to gossip?