Pope Francis on Wednesday chastised priests and bishops who take pictures with their cell phones during Masses, saying they should focus on God instead.
‘The priest says “lift up your hearts”. He does not say, “lift up your cell phones to take pictures”,’ Francis told tens of thousands of people at his weekly audience in St Peter’s Square, referring to a communion prayer in the Roman Catholic Mass.
In his improvised remarks, Mail Online said the Pope called using cell phones during Mass ‘a very ugly thing’, adding: ‘It makes me very sad when I celebrate (Mass) here in the piazza or in the basilica and I see so many cell phones held up.
‘Not only by the faithful, but also by some priests and even bishops! The Mass is not a show… so remember, no cell phones!’
His comments prompted laughter and applause from the massive crowd on Wednesday.
Francis, the leader of the world’s 1.2billion Roman Catholics, has regularly urged the faithful to be more spiritual and his priests and bishops to be more humble.Shortly after his election in 2013, he said it pained him to see priests driving flashy cars and eager to use the latest smartphone.
The pope is driven around in a simple blue Ford Focus and is not known to have ever used a cell phone in public since his election.
Earlier this month, the pope confessed that he sometimes nods off while praying, claiming that saints too have been known to grab some Holy shut-eye. ‘When I pray, sometimes I fall asleep,’ he said in an episode of a Catholic TV2000 television program published Tuesday on YouTube.
‘Saint Therese did it too,’ he said in reference to a 19th-century French nun, adding that Christians were called to feel like children lying in their fathers’ arms – a place conducive to napping, he implies.
Francis radiates energy and enthusiasm when he meets people, but his expression turns very grave when he prays, often bowing his head and closing his eyes.
Meanwhile, French Catholic authorities expressed anger in October at the court-ordered removal of a cross from a statue of the late pope John Paul II, which prompted outrage from his native Poland.
France’s highest administrative court ruled last week that the cross, in the northwestern town of Ploermel, must be taken down due to strict secularism laws separating church and state.