Pope Francis, gossip and his priests

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Monday, December 23, 2013

“If you reveal your secrets to the wind, you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees.”
--Kahlil Gibran, “Sand and Foam”

POPE FRANCIS who has talked on a wide range of subjects finally dealt with gossip.

The Pope has charmed and surprised Catholic officials and its faithful on such topics as abortion and homosexuality (he won't judge those who practice it), appointing women as cardinals ("women must be valued, not ‘clericalized’"), or breastfeeding in public ("feed the child when it's hungry").

The matter of gossip came in when he started tackling the allegedly corrupt and scandal-ridden Curia, the Vatican bureaucracy.

The Pope asked the Curia's clergy to be professional and "conscientiously object" to gossip, which he says is "harmful to people, our work, and our surroundings."

The Pope must know that gossip is unavoidable in any bureaucracy, be it of government, private company, or the church -- in the Vatican or in a parish or archdiocese.


And it's not always gossip. It can be information sharing or gathering. If, as Churchill says, half of the terrible lies going about the world are true, the good rumor-collector is he who can distinguish which is canard and the smart manager is who can act on the right dossier.

Peddling a rumor may be the sin but is listening to one, without passing judgment, sinful too?

And no one's safe from gossip. As the Spanish proverb says, whoever gossips to you will gossip about you.

And what if nobody told anything to the Pope or archbishop or parish priest? They wouldn't know the gossip about them.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 24, 2013.


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