What is the terrorism of gossip

Il terrorismo delle chiacchiere è una minaccia terribile, una miccia che può accendere focolai di odio. Chi la pensa così e ha pronunciato queste parole ha tutto il diritto di farlo.

A negative episode with a colleague, something said by a friend, a criticism received by a relative. These are all things that could hurt us. We could then feel the need of solving the problem, but we often do it in the wrong way, by reacting through gossip and spite, in order to feel satisfied and, let’s say it, vindicated. All this, according to Pope Francis, is the terrorism of gossip.

On 1 February, in occasion of the end of the Year of Consecrated Life, Jorge Mario Bergoglio talked for over an hour, chatting with people about this issue. He talked about the capacity of media of sullying others, and that’s we all know as rumours and gossiping.


Pope Francis said that “the very way to distance ourselves from our brothers and sisters is the terrorism of gossip. Pay attention: not just gossip, but the terrorism of gossip”.

“Gossiping is like terrorism because the person who gossips is like a terrorist who drops a bomb and runs away, destroying,” he said. These words are clearer than ever, because who uses this bomb often doesn’t realise its power and influence among colleagues, friends or loved ones.

As a good leader as he is, Pope Francis not only outlined the problem, but also suggested a solution: “If you get an urge to say something against a brother or a sister, to drop a gossip bomb, bite your tongue! Hard!” he said. “If something is going wrong, you should tell the person involved: ‘your behaviour is bothering me and is not appropriate’. You only tell that person, no one else, so he or she can solve the problem. Gossiping is worthless”.

Is it easy? Not at all. As Pope Francis said “the hardest human virtue to acquire is controlling one’s tongue”.

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