Pope Francis waves to worshipers from the window of the apostolic palace overlooking St. Peter's Square on September 6, 2020 in The Vatican, during the weekly Angelus prayer within the COVID-19 infection, caused by the novel coronavirus. (Vincenzo Pinto/AFP)
Pope Francis has urged Catholics not to gossip about one another's faults.
"Please, brothers and sisters, let us make an effort not to gossip. Gossiping is a plague worse than Covid-19," Pope Francis told the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square for the Angelus on Sept. 6.
He said the "great gossiper" is the devil who always "goes about saying the bad things of others, because he is the liar who tries to disunite the Church, alienating brothers and sisters and unmaking community."
International media, including the UK-based Guardian newspaper, reported that Pope Francis strayed from his prepared text to "complaint about gossiping within church communities and the Vatican bureaucracy."
Without attributing the specifics, the pope said the devil is the "biggest gossiper" who is seeking to divide the Church with his lies.
Pope Francis said the Gospel says not to give up but to seek another person's support. "This is the attitude of recovery that Jesus wants from us," he added.
Jesus modified the existing Mosaic law to explain that community intervention may be insufficient. "It takes a greater love to rehabilitate a brother," he said.
"Jesus says: 'And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.' This expression, seemingly so scornful, in reality, invites us to put the brother in God's hands," he said.
"Only the Father will be able to show greater love than that of all brothers and sisters put together … It is the love of Jesus, who had embraced the tax collectors and Gentiles, scandalizing the conformists of the time."