Pope Francis has urged Catholics to put down their phones and turn off the TV this Lent.
In a world “polluted by too much verbal violence”, Pope Francis warned of the “offensive and harmful words” being amplified online in a speech to a general audience on Ash Wednesday.
Pope Francis said Lent should be a time to switch from such technology and “open the Bible” instead.
“Lent is a time to disconnect from cell phones and connect to the Gospel,” he said.
“It is the time to give up useless words, chatter, rumours, gossip, and talk and to speak directly to the Lord.”
There was no television when Pope Francis was a child and his family made a point of not listening to the radio, he told thousands of attendants in St Peter’s Square.
He also reminded people of the importance of fasting over the 40-day Lent period, saying: “Fasting is being capable of giving up the superfluous and going to the essential.
“Fasting is not only losing weight, it is seeking the beauty of a simpler life.”
Picture: Pope Francis greets the crowd during his general audience in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican on 26th February 2020. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).