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'Put down your phones', Pope tells faithful

08 November 2017 | by Christopher Lamb

The Pope poses for selfies, but stressed that when people become distracted during Mass they don’t realise 'Christ is present before them'

Pope Francis has criticised people taking pictures on their phones during Mass, something he lamented was now also being done by priests and bishops. 

“The Mass is not a show,” he emphatically told the crowd in St Peter’s Square during his  Wednesday General Audience this morning. “Put down your phones, and raise up your hearts. It makes me so sad to see so many people taking out their phones during Mass.”

Priests in the Philippines were criticised for taking photos during a Mass celebrated by Francis when he visited the country in January 2015 while clergy in the United States were also photographed taking pictures during a papal liturgy in Madison Square garden New York and also in Philadelphia. 

While the Pope regularly poses for selfies, including inside St Peter’s Basilica, he stressed today that when people become distracted or bored during Mass they don’t realise that “Christ is present before them.”

Francis explained today that he was starting a new series of catechesis on the Eucharist, to help people better understand the meaning of the Mass. 

“We can not forget the great number of Christians who, in the whole world, are in two thousand years of history, have endured to death to defend the Eucharist,” he stressed. 

The Pope said that the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council, was aimed at trying to help Christians “understand the greatness of faith and the beauty of an encounter with Christ” and for this reason it was necessary to carry out a “renewal of the liturgy.”

In recent months Francis has concentrated on trying to continue the reforms of the 1962-65 council including issuing a new law giving more power to local bishops over translations.  

While his vision of reform has sometimes clashed with that of his liturgical prefect, Cardinal Robert Sarah, the cardinal has also criticised the use of smartphones and tablets by priests. 
 
PICTURE: Pope Francis does a selfie with a young woman at the end of the weekly general audience in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican ©PA
 
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