Poison of Gossip

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The Poison of Gossip

A Bishop Robert Barron video

Recently, Bishop Robert Barron was at St Joseph Abbey in Covington, LA (near New Orleans) to address Benedictine abbots from around the US who had gathered for reflection and retreat. Covering the walls of the abbey church and the refectory of the St Joseph monastery are marvellous paintings executed by Fr Gregory de Wit, a monk of Mont César in Belgium, who worked for many years in the US before passing away in 1978. A novelty of de Wit’s painted program at the abbey is that he added an eighth deadly sin that he felt was particularly destructive within a monastery—namely, gossiping.

But de Wit would have been right about almost any type of human community: family, school, workplace, parish, etc. Gossip is poison. De Wit’s painting prophetically anticipated our present pope, who has often made gossip the object of particular criticism. Listen to this from a recent discourse by Francis: “Please, brothers and sisters, let’s try not to gossip. Gossip is a plague worse than COVID. Worse. Let’s make a big effort. No gossiping.”

A friendly suggestion. We are at the beginning of Lent, the Church’s great season of penitence and self-discipline. Instead of giving up desserts or smoking this Lent, give up gossiping. For forty days, try not to comment negatively to those who have no ability to deal with the problem. You and everyone around you will be a lot happier.

Bishop Robert Barron reflection on The Poison of Gossip