After praying the Sunday Angelus with the Faithful in Saint Peter’s Square yesterday, Pope Francis took some time to address what he thinks is “a plague more awful than Covid.”
The catechesis of his address focused on Christ’s teaching of fraternal correction, Who Pope Francis said offers us a three-step approach to correcting someone who has sinned: discrete admonishment, so as “not to judge him but to help him realize what he has done;” seeking out others who are “called not to accuse and judge, but to help;” bringing the matter to the Church, “in some situations, the entire community becomes involved;” and, finally treating the person “as you would a Gentile or a tax collector” which “invites us to put the brother in God’s hands.”
Pope Francis also warned of what happens when one chooses the path of fraternal correction: gossip.
“When we see a mistake, a fault, a slip, in that brother or sister, usually the first thing we do is to go and recount it to others, to gossip. And gossip closes the heart to the community, closes off the unity of the Church. The great gossiper is the devil, who always goes about telling bad things about others because he is the liar who seeks to separate the Church to distance brothers and sisters and not create community.”
The Holy Father went as far as to say that “chatter is a plague more awful than Covid!”
“If this matter does not work, then silence and prayer for the brother or sister who has made a mistake, but never gossip.”
He ended his address urging all to “make an effort: no gossip.”
“Please, brothers and sisters, let us make an effort not to gossip. May the Virgin Mary help us to make fraternal correction a healthy practice, so that in our communities ever new fraternal relationships, founded on mutual forgiveness and above all on the invincible power of God’s mercy, may be instilled.”