POPE FRANCIS has denounced gossiping as a form of "terrorism" and warned worshippers over the dangers of telling lies.
The Pontiff made the remark while discussing Catholicism's eighth commandment – "thou shall not bear false witness" – during his weekly general audience in St Peter's Square on Wednesday.
"The gossiping man and the gossiping woman are people who kill, because the tongue kills like the knife," he said.
"Be careful. The gossipers are terrorists as they drop bombs and then run away. They destroy reputations everywhere.
"Do not forget – to gossip is to kill".
Pope Francis has frequently urged members of the media, as well as the public, to guard against "fake news" and seek out the truth.
The Holy Father further warned the faithful against engaging in falsehoods and fabrications in everyday life.
He added: "We all live by communicating, and we are continuously on the edge between truth and lies.
"To not speak false testimony means to live as a child of God... letting the great truth emerge in every act – that God is Father and we can trust Him.
"I trust God – this is the great truth. From our trust in God, who is a Father and loves me, loves us, my truth is born – to be truthful and not a liar."