In his Ash Wednesday homily marking the beginning of Lent, the Pope Francis exhorted the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics to “switch off the television and open the Bible”.
“It’s the time to switch off from your mobile phone and to connect to the Gospel,” he said, deploring what he called the recent trend towards a world “polluted by too much verbal violence, by so many offensive and harmful words, amplified by (social) networks” he said.
According to AFP, the Pope also used the occasion to expressed his solidarity with those hit by the global outbreak of the novel coronavirus on and praised those working curtail the virus.
“I would like to express my closeness to the coronavirus patients and to the health workers who are treating them, as well as to the civil authorities,” the pope said at his weekly audience at the Vatican.
Italy has suffered the worst outbreak of the novel coronavirus in Europe, with 374 cases of the disease and 12 deaths.
AFP reports that only a few of the 12,000 or so faithful who turned out to see him on Saint Peter’s Square were wearing face masks.