Pope Francis has likened a person who gossips to "a terrorist who throws a bomb" and charged that sowing divisions is a devastating sickness within the Catholic Church.
Speaking during his homily at his Santa Marta residence, Francis reprimanded people who think gossip is harmless. According to Vatican Radio, the pontiff took his inspiration from St Paul's letter to the Colossians, where he describes how Christ was sent by God to sow reconciliation and peace among humanity.
"Gossiping is like terrorism because the person who gossips is like a terrorist who throws a bomb and runs away, destroying," the Roman Catholic Church leaders said. "With their tongue they are destroying and not making peace."
Pope Francis emphasized that the "cunning" gossiper is "not a suicide bomber" because he takes good care of himself.
He also also chastised those who have a "serpent's tongue" and spread gossip within the Catholic Church: "That person is always doing what the serpent did with Adam and Eve, namely destroying peace. And this is an evil, this is a sickness within our church: sowing divisions, sowing hatred, not sowing peace."
The Pope encouraged his listeners to question whether they sow peace when they speak, telling them to bite their tongues if they feel the urge to indulge in gossip. Christians, he argued, are called to be like Jesus who came to earth to bring peace.
"Every day that I get the urge to say something that sows discord and division, to say bad things about another person... Bite your tongue! I can assure you. If you do this and bite your tongue instead of sowing discord, the first few times the wound will cause your tongue to swell because the devil helps us do this because that's his work, his job: to divide," he said.
As reported by the Gospel Herald, the Pope is gearing up for a week-long trip to the Unitates, during which he will visit Washington, D.C. and New York City. He will also attend the closing ceremonies of the of the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia to culminate his trip.
Among those speaking at the week-long event is Saddleback Church pastor Rick Warren, who was personally invited by the Pope to deliver the closing address.
Pastor Warren has in the past called on non-Catholic Christians to join with Pope Francis and the Catholic Church in pursuit of common goals, such as the sanctity of life and the sanctity of marriage.
In November, the pastor joined the leader of the Roman Catholic Church and 30 other global religious leaders for an interfaith Vatican conference on marriage and family, where he spoke on the "Biblical Meaning of Marriage."
"It's great to be with leaders from different streams of Christianity from all over the world," Warren said at the time. "Although we have some differences, we all love Jesus Christ and we all want marriage and families to be healthy and strong."