LETTER FROM THE EDITOR: Challenging the status quo on gossip


At the beginning of the new year, a news site compiled Pope Francis’ top 10 most memorable quotes into a list of “New Year’s resolutions.” The first was to act against gossip, which Pope Francis said is a version of “doing what Judas did.”

“Every time we judge our brother in our hearts, or worse, when we speak badly of them with others, we are murdering Christians,” he said. “There is no such thing as innocent slander.”

This time last year, Editor-in-chief Elizabeth Wong offered a reflection on gossip on campus. She pointed out that at Franciscan University, gossip is easy to camouflage. Be it desguised behind the mask of a prayer request, or whispering that so-and-so went to the “sinner’s Mass” at 4 p.m., gossip is alive and well at Franciscan University of Steubenville, whether we choose to see past our blinders or not.

So, if an editorial on this topic has already been written, why bring it up again?

Because gossip is still a prevalent issue on this campus, and will continue to be until steps are taken to rectify it.

Gossip exists on campus in its traditional form — situations such as blatantly speaking badly of another person— but it also comes about when, as Elizabeth pointed out, you nonchalantly divulge unnecessary details about a person’s situation when requesting a special prayer, or give a knowing look when someone talks about how someone went to the “sinner’s Mass” at 4 p.m. on Sunday after a late Saturday night.

I’m not saying that Franciscan will ever completely be rid of flaws like gossip.

Gossip is, after all, a struggle that comes along with being human. However, the cycle has been perpetuated for far too long. We have become complacent and have allowed things to continue as is because “that’s the way it is at Franciscan.”

No one has ever gotten anywhere by not challenging the status quo.

As Christians, we are called to a radical way of life. However, this radicalism should not be suppressed simply because we are in an environment of like-minded peers. Rather than falling into gossip’s snare, or misusing faith to make excuses for such behavior, go against the grain.

“Stop judging, that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you. Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’ while the wooden beam is in your eye? You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.” — Matthew 7:1-5

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