PopeWatch: Bite Your Tongue



Pope Francis has instructed us to bite our tongues as an alternative to sowing discord and division:



“If a person during his or her life does nothing else but reconcile and bring peace that person can be canonized: that person is a saint. But we need to grow that way, we need to have a conversion: never a word that divides, never, never a word that brings war, small wars, never gossip.  I’m thinking: what is gossip?  Oh it’s nothing- just saying words against another person or telling tales: ‘This person did…’  No!  Gossiping is like terrorism because the person who gossips is like a terrorist who throws a bomb and runs away, destroying: with their tongue they are destroying and not making peace. But this person is cunning, right? He is not a suicide bomber, no, no, he takes good care of himself.”

Pope Francis concluded his homily by repeating a suggestion for Christians to bite their tongues rather than indulge in malicious gossip.

“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.”

Go here to read the rest.  PopeWatch wonders if the Pope has had to receive treatment for bleeding tongue.  No one within the Church can sow division and discord among Catholics to the same extent as a pope.  However, perhaps PopeWatch is merely a “Self-absorbed Promethean Neo-Pelagian” and should bite his tongue in consequence.

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  1. The Abbé de Rancé, the founder of the Reformed Cistercians (Trappist), complied a list of texts from the Psalms, dealing with sins of the tongue. He had much material to choose from:
    “Not a word from their mouth can be trusted; their heart is filled with malice. Their throat is an open grave; with their tongues they tell lies.” (Ps 5:9)
    “His mouth is full of lies and threats; trouble and evil are under his tongue.” (Ps 10:7)
    “May the LORD silence all flattering lips and every boastful tongue—“ (Ps 12:3)
    “whose tongue utters no slander, who does no wrong to a neighbor, and casts no slur on others;” (Ps 15:3)
    “keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies.” (Ps 34:13)
    “You use your mouth for evil and harness your tongue to deceit.” (Ps 50:19)
    “I am in the midst of lions; I am forced to dwell among ravenous beasts– men whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords.” (Ps 57:4)
    There are many, many more – and that is before we get on to Proverbs!

  2. Cardinals Burke and Pell and others are a good example to us! Unafraid to address issues, fighting the battle well and honorably. Nothing snide, no name calling… May God strengthen them in their insight, wisdom and the “cardinal” virtues! ?

  3. I’m with the Pope on gossip. Gossip is very very damaging. It can kill a persons reputation and dignity. And risking resentment from my own sex, there is nothing more frightening and nasty than gossipers- especially female ones. It is the one single thing that turns me off a relationship with someone. It reflects more on the gossipers than the scandal being spread about someone.

    But gossip and “biting ones tongue” are two very different things. Sure one must be tactful in their approach towards a situation, but not saying something when a situation is clearly wrong, or an idea is wrong, is dangerous!

    Our Lord was very wise but he definitely did not bite his tongue.

    St Peter, for better or worse did not bite his tongue, even if he was wrong many times. And I love that quality about St Peter because he always spoke from the depths of his heart. He did this to his death.

    True courage is confronting evil head- on and risking the aftermath.

    Evil is not silent. We have an obligation as followers of Christ to speak up in His name- not to defend God, as he clearly doesn’t need our defence- but as His witness here on earth.

  4. “Evil is not silent. We have an obligation as followers of Christ to speak up in His name- not to defend God, as he clearly doesn’t need our defence- but as His witness here on earth.”
    I second that –

  5. His (the Pope’s) tongue is out of control, and he’s telling us to shut up?! Can someone please put a brak in this man’s mouth?!!!

  6. I heard an interesting parable about a woman who was know as the town gossip. In a dream she saw hell, and was told this would be her fate if she didn’t repent, and change her ways.
    Upon waking she was determined to seek the forgiveness of God in confession. The priest heard her confession, and absolved her of her sin, however he gave her a penance that was very poignant. He said: ” On Monday take your down pillow and climb the stairs of the Bell tower. Upon reaching the top, rip open the pillow and shake all of the feathers out. Then when the last feather has drifted away, go back downstairs and gather up each feather and place it inside the torn pillowcase.

    Our gossip is so easy to spread, but much much more difficult to repair the damage we’ve caused.

    I’m guilty of it, but I’m making efforts to keep my big mouth shut. A work in progress.

  7. I can see a way for this to be very good advice that isn’t ironic….although I still smile at it. 😀

    We must bear witness to the truth, but that isn’t an excuse for causing harm to cause harm, or for ignoring the harm caused.
    At the same time, we can’t follow that popular facebook meme about “before you speak, ask if it would hurt anyone’s feelings”– I know that I’m very, very bad about not saying things that I should because it would be “too confrontational.”
    If someone can come up with a way to deal with my aunt who’s horrified we have twice as many children as she thinks we should, and I haven’t been sterilized, and not either wrong the truth, my children or cause discord, I’d love to hear it. (I figured out what triggers it, but I can’t do anything about her grown children, either, and I can’t even pretend to be miserable without making it bad for everyone else– including my kids.)

  8. . Lol…I remember besides the long normal list TAC has of his past invectives that in a Southern Italian town he told people there that politians who talk but don’t deliver are “blowhards”. What if they couldn’t deliver because finances changed…or people told them no to raises in property taxes. Did he cause division in that town by judging rashly in all cases of pol promises? He needs to go one year of pronouncing no invectives before fraternally correcting others in this area. Make that two years.

  9. Phillip Your story is resounding- thank you for sharing. Wise as always.

    Gossip is simply a bad habit. It’s hard to break the habit initially, but if we train ourselves to not chase that quick thrill that gossip evokes, then it becomes easier over time.

    Sometimes that awful feeling in the pitt of ones stomach after a “gossip session” is a lesson from God. It’s a good sign that our consciences are in good working order.

    Unfortunately, the discord in the world cannot be solved by biting our tongues. The devil is active and running rampant. Perhaps Pope Francis is better to drive this fact home, so we don’t go off course and fall for the devils lies.

    Its understanding this better.

    “Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they shall be called children of God.”

    And reconciling it with this:

    “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”

  10. I guess the Pope is speaking about himself and how he is being maligned. Perhaps Pope Francis should recognize that he is a public figure, and an especially political one, whose listeners have a duty to discuss and comment on him and what he says. The fact that the comments are sometimes unflattering only means that people are listening and reacting in line with their beliefs. So Pope Francis, get over it and get over yourself, man up.

  11. The Pope was not focusing on “gossip.” He was focusing on those who “divide”, i.e., those who dissent, those who criticize him and his agenda, and his supporters. Dissent was a virtue for Bergoglio and his cadre during some previous pontificates; but now that liberal untruth is enshrined in the Chair of Peter and in his minions in the Vatican, dissent is divisive, dissent is the sin of the orthodox. The absolute worst words that can “divide” are words of heresy; words like “those engaged in loving sodo relationships have part of the fullness of marriage;” “the remarried in a loving relationship without annulment have part of the fullness of marriage” and “all these ‘partial fullness’ folks are to be welcomed and their love celebrated publicly before the Altar Of God during the Holy Sacrifice Of The Mass.” And very important, all these lovers are to be allowed to donate of their treasure to Holy TransFem Church. John The Baptist, Paul of Tarsus, and even Our Lord Jesus Christ -in some ways the greatest “divider’ of all time – will never be allowed to speak in Bergoglio’s Church. And the ushers will usher Jesus, along with His sword, out of Cupich’s Churches in Chicago. Guy McClung, San Antonio, Texas

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