You know, I'm beginning to love our new Pope Francis, as many of us are whether we're Catholic or not. He's a breath of fresh air and gives real hope to the poor and suffering, not to mention a modernized although carefully-nuanced vision for the church.
But out of the blue last month, just a couple of weeks before Christmas, Pope Francis made a statement that came down hard on gossip! Oops! As you can see this admonishment cuts way to close to home. What am I to do? Shut down the blog?
I'm assuming this is based on number nine of the Big Ten - that business about "not bearing false witness against thy neighbor". But honestly, if Moses could have known how dreadful our neighbors are in this part of town he might have left some loopholes in this one.
Taking it all into consideration I do have a few thoughts on the subject I'd like to share. First and foremost is the simple fact that the biggest gossip mill on the face of this entire planet is within the Vatican itself, and everybody knows it! So give me a break.
Second, because of this castigation there could be a massive loss of work for newspapers, tabloids, magazines, films, TV shows, news programs, gossip columnists, bloggers and paparazzi. (i.e. How many employees and freelancers are employed by People Magazine?)
Third, gossip is one of many tried-and-true forms of social bonding. It's the '"Us against them'" factor and how we sometimes distinguish ourselves into groups and cliques.
And last, what might be thought of as gossip to some might be considered urgent information to others - especially in the world of the super rich where gossip can be vital. Not just about fashion, jewelry, what's in, what's out, who's on top and who's on bottom - but there's big money at stake in their relationships. (e.g. Would it be wise to invest with someone whose wife at the moment is suing him for half his fortune?) I believe it was Sir Francis Bacon who first said "Knowledge is power". And power is something rich people love for sure.
Having said all that, I'm not really certain if I've made a convincing argument to either you or the Vatican this evening, and I may have to address this again with St. Peter someday when I'm knocking on the gates. If he does let me in, I certainly hope that none of our neighbors will be up there. Although I can't imagine for a minute that they would be.
Thanks for dropping in this evening.