I've read it numerous times online, 'gossip is a mortal sin.' Numerous times I have said, 'no, it is not.' So is it or isn't it? Idle chatter is generally an imperfection. Idle chatter generally includes harmless gossip and sometimes juicy tidbits. What is needed for it to be mortal sin? Grave matter, full knowledge, and full consent, which, for all intents and purposes, involves intent. For gossip to be grave, that is - a mortal sin - it usually consists of detraction, calumny, and rash judgement. Rumor mongering and tale-bearing, when it harms the reputation of another or relates a fact otherwise unknown can be gravely sinful, depending upon the harm caused, damage done, etc. If the rumors are true, consent and intent comes into play, as well as the 'need to know'. If the story is factual and public knowledge and one repeats it to comment or ask a question - well it can get to be rather complicated. Therefore one has to understand what mortal sin consists of. Briefly, it has to be:
a) An act of grave matter that is...
b) Committed with full knowledge and...
c) Deliberate consent.
All three dispositions must be present.
If we go with the 'all gossip is a mortal sin' idea, that means that most bloggers, journalists, news anchors, reporters, as well as church basement donuts and coffee clutches are rife with gossip and all of us are going to hell. If one is so concerned then one ought to cease from blogging and commenting online and enter a monastery. Oh wait - they're online now as well. See, John of the Cross was right, "the majority of humanity will be lost!"
Sarcasm aside - don't mistake what I say for spiritual direction. Instead, study your catechism and ask your confessor or spiritual director, and sometimes ask him to explain it further if you are still confused.