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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis: Gossip destroys community because it is inopportune or careless

The cold is slowly making its way to the Eternal City, but that did not diminish the enthusiasm from the pilgrims.

In his catechesis, Pope Francis explained the meaning of the eighth commandment, which forbids lying. He said a person can lie in many ways, not only with words, but the consequences are serious.

"It is grave to living non-authentic communications, because it prevents reciprocal relationships and love of neighbor. Communication between people is not only with words, but also with gestures and attitudes, even with silences and absences. One communicates with everything he or she does and says."

He also said that it is not only about telling any sort of truth, but about acting with justice. In addition, one can "honestly mess up." This means that one thinks he or she is right, when it is absolutely untrue. 

"Sometimes we justify ourselves by saying, 'But I said what I felt.' Yes, but you have 'absolutized' your point of view. Or to say, 'I only said the truth.' It may be, but you have revealed personal or reserved information. So much gossip destroys communion because it is inopportune or careless!"

The pope warned against a grave danger: that of inopportunity. This means revealing truths about others to people who don't need to know them.

"Be careful. Gossip, a gossiper is a terrorist. Because with his or her tongue he or she drops a bomb and then leaves. What has been said, that bomb that has been dropped, destroys the reputation of others and the gossiper walks away calmly."

The pope recommended following the example of Christ. He openly revealed who He was with facts and words, even though it cost Him His life. In this way, he demonstrated the meaning of leading an authentic life.