Pope Francis has said gossip is worse than COVID-19 and that it divides communities. He said the devil is the "biggest gossiper," who creates division with his lies. The Pope spoke about the dangers of gossiping during his weekly blessing. He said: "Please brothers and sisters, let's try to not gossip. Gossip is a plague worse than COVID. Let's make a big effort. No gossiping." The Pope regularly speaks about the dangers of gossiping, especially on social media. He tells people not to listen to Internet trolls. He said: "If something goes wrong, offer...prayer...but never gossip."
The Pope was making his first speech since the pandemic started. It is not the first time he has made remarks on gossip. In 2016, he warned people not to "fuel the terrorism of gossip" and to resist temptation to spread gossip. He said: "If you get an urge...to drop a gossip bomb, bite your tongue. Hard." Two years later he brought the subject of gossip up again. He told worshippers in the Vatican that gossip is deadly "because the tongue kills, like a knife". A visitor to the Vatican agreed. She said: "Gossips are nothing but scandalmongers and busybodies."