Pope gets clergy and religious laugh with paternal advice

Dhaka: Pope Francis urged Bangladeshi priests and nuns to resist the “terrorism of gossip” that can tear religious communities apart, delivering one of his trademark, zinger-filled spontaneous speeches to the country’s Catholic leadership on Saturday at the close of an otherwise tense and diplomatically fraught Asian tour.

As he has done in similar encounters, Francis told the priests and nuns gathered in Dhaka’s Holy Rosary Church that he was ditching the eight-page speech that he had prepared and would instead speak to them from his heart.

“I don’t know if it will be better or worse, but I promise it will be less boring,” he quipped.

And then for the next 15 minutes, Francis had the crowd in stitches, mixing paternal advice on how to tend to religious vocations (“with tenderness”) with gentle warnings about the havoc that gossip “bombs” can wreak when lobbed in closed religious life.

“How many religious communities have been destroyed because of a spirit of gossip?” said Francis, adding that he was speaking from personal experience. “Please, bite your tongue.”

History’s first Jesuit pope has frequently lamented the damage gossip can do within the church, where vows of obedience, strict hierarchies and closed communities can breed jealousies and resentment.

It’s a message Francis has brought to ordinary parishes riven by divisions and to the top of the Catholic Church leadership. His most famous iteration came in his 2014 Christmas greetings to the Vatican bureaucracy, when he listed the “terrorism of gossip” as one of the 15 maladies his closest collaborators were suffering (alongside “spiritual Alzheimer’s” and a “pathology of power.”)

The Bangladeshi edition was far more jovial in tone, and many in the pews nodded along as Francis made one zinger after another to make his point. It was a humor-filled end to a tense diplomatic trip that saw Francis maintain public silence over the Rohingya refugee crisis while in Myanmar, only to address it head-on in Bangladesh with an emotional encounter with refugees themselves.

“The presence of God today is also called ‘Rohingya,’” he told a group of 16 refugees who traveled to Dhaka from Cox’s Bazar, the district bordering Myanmar where refugee camps are overflowing with more than 620,000 Rohingya who have fled what the U.N. says is a campaign of ethnic cleansing by Myanmar’s military.

Francis’ final event of the day was a youth rally where he urged young people to respect their elders and keep listening to them. “Don’t spend the whole day playing with your phone and ignoring the world around you!” he said.

Afterward, Francis headed to the airport for the flight back to Rome and his traditional airborne news conference.

Follow Nicole Winfield at www.twitter.com/@nwinfield

(Source: news-herald)

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2 thoughts on “Pope gets clergy and religious laugh with paternal advice

  1. Church is never a failure but gossip in the church is prevalent Amidst the the Catholic Church’s priests and nuns. Religious formation and seminary formation is complete waist. It is well proved by lay movements. Single lay man called benny punnathara of shallom Chanel is doing church’s ministry more better than any bishop of India, same way man called sweetly the manager of fiat mission, aruthothil sabu, Santhosh christen, Santhosh karimatra, founder of Jesus youth etc… Many more better than this.
    After 11 yrs of formation diocesan priests are exports in gossip, religious priests are doctors in gossips. Religious sisters are daughters of Gossips. In conclusion most of the church personals are lead by the spirit of darkness. Their energy is anti-witnesses.

  2. Priests and nuns to stop “terrorism of gossip”. !!! No wonder…..
    “How many religious communities have been destroyed because of the spirit of gossip?” Pope Francis said. Seeing this news don’t control the news agencies but “please bite your tongue”
    The Pope has at last found the root cause of all chaos in the Catholic church? If Pope repaire, only this, root cause all other issues in the Catholic Church will be subsided and sorted out. Because all man power of the church is waisting energy in destroying itself (it is like self abuse). Stop it.
    Pope Francis can do something in this line. Simple managing principle will help handle this issue with the power of Holy Spirit.

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