Pope Francis calls gossip a plague worse than COVID-19.

The pontiff claims it hurts the Catholic Church’s unity and is not an alternative to fraternal correction, that is, redirection of a sinner.

In last Sunday’s Angelus, the pope instructed the faithful in lieu of gossip to discretely admonish the sinner, get help and tell the church. How did these measures work out in redirecting the sinful sexual predators within the church? Not so good.

A little more gossip might have blown the scandal wide open years earlier. Perhaps, too, this admonishment of gossip is yet another slight at women whose absence in the church hierarchy enabled the all-boys club to do what it did. I’m guessing most of the church’s sexual-abuse victims would choose a two-week bout with COVID-19 over a lifetime of shame, guilt and low self-esteem.

LADONNA GUILLOT

retired professor

Baton Rouge