Pope Tells Hairdressers to Cut Out Gossip in the Workplace

A female men's barber, Serap Aykut (L) works in a barbershop on February 28, 2018, in Istanbul. Serap Aykut has been working as a men's barber for 21 years. / AFP PHOTO / YASIN AKGUL (Photo credit should read YASIN AKGUL/AFP/Getty Images)

Pope Francis addressed a group of Italian hairstylists and beauticians Monday, urging them to carry out their profession “in a Christian style,” while keeping their salons gossip-free.

The pope encouraged the hairdressers to look to the patron saint of barbers and stylists, the Peruvian Saint Martin de Porres, as a model to help them to constantly witness to “Christian values” in their work.

With Saint Martin’s help, you will “practice your profession in a Christian style, treating customers with kindness and courtesy, and always offering them a good and encouraging word, avoiding giving in to the temptation of gossip that can easily creep into your work environment, as we all know,” Francis said in his address to the group in the Vatican.

“May each one of you, in carrying out your typical professional work, always act with rectitude, thus making a positive contribution to the common good of society,” he said.

Pope Francis has often criticized the sin of gossip, going so far as to call gossipers “terrorists” and likening their chatter to weapons that destroy other people’s reputations.

“Gossipers are killers,” the pope told pilgrims in Saint Peter’s Square last November. “They kill others because the tongue kills like a knife. Be careful!”

“A gossiper is a terrorist,,” the pontiff continued, “because with his tongue he throws a bomb and then walks away, but that tossed bomb destroys the good name of others. Do not forget: to gossip is to kill.”

Similarly, in early 2016 the pope told a group of religious priests, sisters, and brothers to avoid the “terrorism of gossip,” urging his hearers to learn to tame their tongues rather than speak badly about others in their communities.

“If you are thinking of saying something against a brother or sister, of throwing a bomb of gossip, bite your tongue! Hard! There is no place for terrorism in the community!” he said.

If you have something against someone, Francis told them, tell it to their face rather than stabbing them in the back with gossip.

“Gossip is worthless,” he added.

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