There are going on 900,000 dead from the coronavirus around the globe, but Pope Francis said Sunday that gossiping is a “plague worse than COVID” that is seeking to divide the Catholic Church, reports the AP. Francis strayed from his prepared text to double down on his frequent complaint about gossiping within church communities and even within the Vatican bureaucracy. Francis didn’t give specifics during his weekly blessing, but went on at some length to say that "the greatest talker is the devil, who always goes about saying the bad things of others, because he is the liar who tries to disunite the Church, to alienate his brothers and not to make community," he said, per CNN. “Gossip is a plague worse than COVID. Worse. Let’s make a big effort: No gossiping!”
Francis’ comments came as he elaborated on a Gospel passage about the need to correct others privately when they do something wrong. The Catholic hierarchy has long relied on this “fraternal correction” among priests and bishops to correct them when they err without airing problems in public. Survivors of sexual abuse have said this form of private reprimand has allowed abuse to fester in the church and let both predator priests and superiors who covered up for them escape punishment.
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