FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
ON POPE FRANCIS
GOSSIPS ARE CHRISTIAN MURDERERS
November 8, 2013
Don’t gossip, malign, judge, disdain, look down on, or plot against your brethren.
What does such gossip consist of? Aside from what we traditionally understand as gossip, this also includes:
* Speaking against a brother, especially a leader, behind his back.
* Judging what he says or does as wrong, even without taking up the matter with him.
* Taking up our complaints or dissent with others who have no authority to do anything about it, like with our co-household members, or worse, with those brethren in the household we head.
* Whipping up antagonism against a leader by our negative words, and that leader not even aware that his brethren already look unkindly on him.
“But I just want what is best for community,” one protests. As Pope Francis says, there is no such thing as innocent gossip. If you really want what is best for the community, then take the matter up with the person concerned, and if that is not feasible, then take the matter up with someone in authority who can do something about the matter. Never just discuss your negative views with others, as that is gossip.
Listen to the pope’s sobering words: “every time we judge our brother in our hearts, or worse still when we speak ill of them with others, we are Christian murderers.”
As Paul said in yesterday’s reading, “Why then do you judge your brother? Or you, why do you look down on your brother?” (Rom 14:10a). Indeed, why? If you are to judge, then judge yourself. What is your motive? What is your hidden agenda? Do you see how you are doing much harm to the body and not just to the person you are gossiping about?
The pope says that if someone’s shortcomings seem to justify negative comments, just pray for him and/or do penance for her. For our community of CFC-FFL, you can go further, and that is to bring your difficulties up into the light in the proper fora.
Gossips are ‘Christian murderers,’ Pope says
“There is no such thing as innocent gossip,” Pope Francis said in his sermon at a morning Mass on September 13.
The Pope used strong language to denounce “that hateful attitude toward one’s neighbor when one becomes a ‘judge’ of his brother.” He reminded the congregation that Jesus used even stronger language, saying that anyone who hates his neighbor is a murderer. Thus, the Pontiff said, “every time we judge our brothers in our hearts – or worse still when we speak ill of them with others, we are Christian murderers.”
If someone’s shortcomings seem to justify negative comments, the Pope suggested an alternative approach: “Go and pray for him! Go and do penance for her!”
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