Resist ‘terrorism of gossip’, Pope tells priests

DHAKA: Pope Francis on Saturday compared the act of gossiping to terrorism, telling priests and nuns at the end of a trip to Bangladesh that engaging in it is destructive to religious harmony.
“The enemy of harmony in a religious community is the spirit of gossip — it is a kind of terrorism,” the Pope told the gathering of Catholics ahead of his departure from Dhaka.
“It is just like the terrorists who don’t say I am a terrorist, but leave bombs behind. The other person then again spread the gossip,” the pope told the crowd at a 16th century Portuguese church in central Dhaka.
Francis, who spent three days in Bangladesh as part of a six-day Asia visit, also called the Catholics to “bite their tongue” to avoid distrust and division.
The pontiff left Dhaka for Rome in the evening after addressing gathering of an estimated 10,000 young men and women at Notre Dame College.
During his stay in Dhaka, Francis acknowledged the plight of the Rohingya, Myanmar’s persecuted minority, who have crossed in their hundreds of thousands to Bangladesh, fleeing a military crackdown in Rakhine state.
“The presence of God is today also called Rohingya,” the pontiff said on Friday at an interfaith prayer service also attended by a small group of Rohingya in Dhaka.
Francis had been advised not to use the word during the first leg of his trip to Myanmar, where the minority group are not considered citizens and are instead referred to as Bengalis, implying they are interlopers from Bangladesh.
More than 624,000 Rohingya crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar army launched crackdown on suspected insurgents. — dpa