Speed Reading — Gossip - Level 3 — 100 wpm

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Pope Francis has said gossiping is worse than COVID-19. He said gossip is a danger that divides communities. He added that the devil is the "biggest gossiper" who is seeking to create division with his lies. The Pope spoke about the dangers of gossiping during his weekly blessing at the Vatican. He said: "Please brothers and sisters, let's try to not gossip. Gossip is a plague worse than COVID. Worse. Let's make a big effort. No gossiping." The Pope has regularly spoken about the dangers of gossiping, especially on social media. He advises people not to listen to Internet trolls, saying: "If something goes wrong, offer silence and prayer for the brother or sister who make a mistake, but never gossip."

The Pope was making his first public audience since the pandemic started. His latest speech on gossip is not the first time he has made strong remarks on the topic. In 2016, he warned people not to "fuel the terrorism of gossip". He urged people to resist the temptation to spread gossip. He said: "If you get an urge to say something against a brother or a sister, to drop a gossip bomb, bite your tongue. Hard." Two years later he brought the subject up again. He told worshippers in St Peter's Square that gossip is lethal "because the tongue kills, like a knife". A visitor to the Vatican agreed. She said: "Gossips are nothing but scandalmongers and busybodies."

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