Pope Francis this week held his weekly general audience in public for the first time in six months as the Vatican slowly looks to return to normal following the prolonged coronavirus lockdown.
Pope Francis urged the faithful on Sunday to steer clear of gossip. He articulated that gossiping is a “plague worse than COVID” that is seeking to break the Catholic Church.
“Please, brothers and sisters, let’s make an effort not to gossip. Gossiping is a worse plague than COVID,” the pope said during his weekly address from a window above St. Peter’s Square.
Pope Francis strayed from his pre-written address to double down on his constant complaint about gossiping within church societies and indeed within the Vatican bureaucracy. Pope Francis didn’t give specifics during his weekly blessing but detailed at unusual length to say the devil is the “biggest gossiper” who is striving to divide the church with his lies.
“Please brothers and sisters, let’s try to not gossip,” he said. “Gossip is a plague worse than COVID. Worse. Let’s make a big effort: No gossiping!”
“The devil is the great gossip. He is always saying bad things about others because he is the liar who tries to split the Church,” Pope Francis added in the off-the-cuff comments.
Francis’ comments originated as he elaborated on a Gospel passage about the requirement to correct others privately when they do evil deeds. The Catholic hierarchy has long relied on this “fraternal correction” between priests and bishops to admonish them when they blunder without airing problems in public.
“If something goes wrong, offer silence and prayer for the brother or sister who make a mistake, but never gossip,” he said on Sunday.
Survivors of sexual abuse have said this form of secret reprimand has allowed abuse to rot in the church and let both predator priests and superiors who covered up for them evade punishment.
Pope Francis scheduled to travel outside Rome for the first time after the coronavirus pandemic
Pope Francis will next month visit the Italian town of Assisi, his first journey out of Rome since the coronavirus pandemic sprang in February, and will sign a new encyclical, a spokesman for the Assisi Basilica said on Saturday.
The encyclical, which is the highest form of papal writing, is anticipated to concentrate on what Pope Francis views the post-pandemic world should look like, and will be named “Brothers All…”.
Father Enzo Fortunato stated in a statement that the pope would visit Assisi on Oct. 3, one day before the Feast of St. Francis, who was born in the small Umbrian hill town in the center of Italy.
“The visit will take place in private, without the participation of the faithful,” Fortunato said.
Delivered to you by COPTICNN™ | Coptic News Network on 2020-09-06 from Vatican City, Italy
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