Prince Harry’s book, Spare quickly becoming a best seller is proof of how much we all live in a world that loves gossip. 3.2 million copies have already sold worldwide so that people can hear many stories which should have stayed within the privacy of family life. Books like this are a referred to as ‘human interest’ stories but basically, they are full of gossip and tittle tattle and sell well the more scandal they spew and of course how big a celebrity you are.
The definition of Gossip is idle talk or rumour, especially about the personal or private affairs of others. It is also known as dishing or tattling. The financial benefit of someone famous writing this for profit is huge but the higher price tag is losing friends, family or even reputation. Some things should just not be said and gossip, like throwing feathers in the wind, cannot be regathered. Many lives have been ruined by careless words or malicious gossip by someone who started a sentence with, ‘wait till you hear or I’m only saying..’
Pope Francis says that gossip is a ‘plague worse than Covid’ and he is fearful that it is seeking to divide the Catholic church. He describes the devil as the ‘biggest gossiper’ who is seeking to cause harm with his lies. He says, ‘Please brothers and sisters, let’s try to not gossip’. So, whether it’s a family member, friend, neighbour, it might do us all good to examine where we are on the gossip spectrum. Do we do harm, cause offence or hurt by the careless words we say about others, can we moderate what we say? If we can’t say something good then it might be better to say nothing at all?
The peace in a family or community is a gift that can easily be destroyed through petty gossip and speaking ill of others. Many family disputes and even diplomatic rows have started from someone telling stories. Pope Francis says, ‘People who receive and give the sign of peace should be men and women of peace and not ruin the peace made by the Holy Spirit with our tongue’. Like the parable of the talents, the Holy Spirit’s gift is a seed that bears fruit when it is shared with others and not when it is buried because of selfish fears. When we have the seed in hand, it isn’t meant to be stored in a closet, it is meant to be sown. All life must be sown so that it bears fruit and multiply. We must give the gift of the Spirit back to the community.
Pope Francis concludes, ‘Gossip is not a work of the Holy Spirit, Gossip destroys the work of God. Please stop’. A lesson for us all during the coming season of Lent.
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, 22nd February. Ashes will be distributed at the following times.
Cathedral: 10.30am, 7.00pm
St Colman’s Choir will sing at 10.30am
St Brigid’s: 7.30pm