Like most Italian words they roll off the tongue and sound great; but they disguise destructive fruit. Or so says Pope Francis in this morning's homily, the latest example of his "sermo humilis" style.Idle and aimless chatter (chiacchiere) and gossip (pettegolezzo) poison the spiritual environment.
"We all chatter in the Church! As Christians we chatter! The chatter is hurtful? We hurt one another. It is as if we want to put each other down; instead of growing one makes the other feel small while I feel great. That will not do! It seems nice to chatter ... I do not know why, but it looks nice. Like sweetness of honey, right? You take one and then another, and another, and another, and in the end you have a stomach ache. And why ? The chatter is like that eh? It is 'sweet at first and it ruins you, it ruins your soul! Rumors are destructive in the Church, they are destructive ... Its 'a little' like the spirit of Cain who killed his brother, his tongue; it kills his brother!"
Clearly, not the tongues of Pentecost. And in a passage of the homily not reported by Vatican Radio, Francis added: " il diavolo vuole quello!" -- "it's what the devil desires!"