Pope Francis on Gossip

Pope Francis preaches against gossip a lot. This is a nice example of how, as in yesterday’s meditation on the Sunday readings, we can prepare for Christ’s coming. Below a summary of one such homily, from Vatican Radio.


“There is no such thing as innocent gossip,” Pope Francis tells us in his homily at today’s morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, according to Vatican Radio.

Francis is reflecting on today’s Gospel (Luke 6:39-42), the one in which Jesus uses the analogy of a “splinter in your brother’s eye” to warn his followers against the hypocrisy of judging others without first judging themselves. “Remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye,” Jesus says.

In his morning homily, Francis admonishes us to avoid gossip, calling it a “criminal” act that is no different than the act of murder that Cain committed against his brother, Abel.

“It’s not me saying this, it’s the Lord,” the pope says. “And there is no place for nuances. If you speak ill of your brother, you kill your brother. And every time we do this, we are imitating that gesture of Cain, the first murderer in history.”

Francis urges us to refrain from gossiping about another person, instead says we should “go and pray for him! Go and do penance for her! And then, if it is necessary, speak to that person who may be able to seek remedy for the problem.”

“We ask for grace so that we and the entire church may convert from the crime of gossip to love, to humility, to meekness, to docility, to the generosity of love towards our neighbor,” he says.

Pastoral Care of Families

The Pope has called an “extraordinary” (in other words, short-notice) “synod of bishops” (in other words, a selection of bishops from around the world to advise him) for next October to discuss “The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization.”  What a wonderful, important discussion to have!

A nice side benefit of such an initiative is that we at the grassroots can do our own brainstorming about the pastoral care of families.  Even if our ideas never make it into a papal document, it can do us a lot of good to think about what might be helpful.

Yesterday I read an excellent short piece on this topic by Micah Murphy at Truth and Charity.  I don’t know him, or this Web site, but what I really appreciate about Murphy’s approach is his joining of what is most deep and essential with really practical thinking.  Things like homilies encouraging families to “slow down and embrace silence” (well, my four-year-old is screaming at the moment, but I know what he means); lots more confession times; and the importance of Masses for whole families, not breaking families up into age groups.  Essential but practical.  Also so important: creating communities of families — and he has very concrete ideas for how to do this.

I like, too, that Murphy has links to other pieces where he has been writing about concrete pastoral strategies.  I especially like his “5 Catechetical Tips for Reaching the Most Important Audience.”  And his writing style is pleasant, funny, and positive.

We could do with a lot more of this pastoral kind of thinking.  I encourage you to check out his piece.