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Pope says backbiting is equal to murder

September 13, 2013 - One who speaks ill of others is a hypocrite and murderer who has no courage to look at his own shortcomings. This was the reflection that Pope Francis shared in his homily at Mass, Friday morning, at the Casa Santa Marta residence in the Vatican. Commenting on the day’s Gospel where Jesus questions one who notices the splinter in his brother’s eye but ignores the beam in his own, the Pope said that backbiting has a ‘criminal dimension’ because each time we talk evil of our brothers we imitate the action of Cain. After having talked about humility, the Pope said, Jesus speaks about its opposite - the hateful attitude towards the neighbour, becoming his judge. And for those who judge others, speaking ill about them, Jesus uses the strong word “hypocrite” because they don’t have the strength and the courage to look at their own defects. Elsewhere, the Pope recalled, the Lord says that anyone who hates his brother or sister is a murderer; and John in his First Letter says anyone who hates his brother walks in darkness, that is who judges his brother walks in darkness. When we talk ill about others we become ‘Christian murderers’, the Pope said adding “we imitate the action of Cain, history’s first murderer.” The Holy Father further said that these days when there is so much talk about war we need peace, we need gestures of conversion. There is nothing called innocent backbiting, the Pope explained saying, it always assumes a criminal dimension. He recalled St. James who said the tongue is used to praise the Lord, but when it is used to speak evil of our brother and sister we use it to kill God, the image of God in our brother. Pope Francis urged all to implore the grace of conversion from the crime of backbiting to love, humility, meekness, gentleness and large-heartedness towards others.


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