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Bite your tongue: Fight temptation to gossip, sow division, pope says

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Fomenting division, fueling hatred and not planting peace “is a disease in our church,” Pope Francis said in a morning homily.

‘In fact, those who spend their lives bringing reconciliation and peace are saints, and those who gossip are just “like a terrorist who throws a bomb and walks away,” destroying others while making sure they stay safe and sound, he said.

Pope Francis speaks as he leads his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Sept. 2. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis speaks as he leads his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Sept. 2. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

During Mass in the chapel of his residence, the Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis asked people to think about whether they were sowers of peace or destroyed harmony with gossip.

“This is an evil, this is a disease in our church: to sow division, sow hatred, plant (what is) not peace,” he said.

Christians are called to be like Jesus, who came to bring peace and reconciliation, and this requires constant conversion, he said.

People should never speak “a word that can divide, never ever a word that brings war, little wars, never gossip,” he said.

People might think gossiping is really nothing serious, but it is, he said.

“Gossiping is terrorism because the person who gossips is like a terrorist who throws a bomb and walks away, destroying; they destroy with their tongue, they don’t make peace,” the pope said.

“But they’re cunning, you know. They aren’t suicide bombers, no, no, they take care of themselves,” he added.

The pope had a bit of advice, saying that whenever he felt the urge to say something bad about someone or gossip, the best thing to do is literally bite one’s tongue.

However, “at first your tongue will get all swollen and hurt,” he said, because the devil is always tempting people to open their mouths and say something wrong. “It’s his job to divide” people.

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