Pope Francis says that Mass is for prayers not to lift up mobile phones

(Photo: REUTERS / Tony Gentile)Pope Francis leads his weekly general audience in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican November 12, 2014.

Pope Francis reproach of the Catholic faithful for using their mobile phones during Mass went viral on the internet showing the pontiff the power of the social media he contends with.

Despite using social media himself with millions of followers on Twitter, Francis said on Nov. 8 that it He said it made him sad when many phones are held up.

He said even priests and bishops are taking photos, Catholic News Agency reported.

The Pope is not known to have used a mobile phone in public since his election and once asked young people to carry Bibles instead of phones, said the BBC.

He is, however, an avid user of social media and regularly allows himself to be snapped with pilgrims for selfies.

Pope Francis made his comments at his weekly audience in St Peter's Square in Rome, noting that Mass is a time for prayer and not a show.

"At a certain point the priest leading the ceremony says 'lift up our hearts'. He doesn't say 'lift up our mobile phones to take photographs' - it's a very ugly thing," said Francis.

"It's so sad when I'm celebrating mass here or inside the basilica and I see lots of phones held up - not just by the faithful, but also by priests and bishops! Please!"

It's a bad thing! And I tell you that it gives me so much sadness when I celebrate here in the Piazza or Basilica and I see so many raised cellphones, not just of the faithful, even of some priests and even bishops.

"But think: when you go to Mass, the Lord is there! And you're distracted. (But) it is the Lord!"

The following day the Pope was taking action on another social habit, one that is becoming increasingly taboo in the modern era, smoking tobacco.


He banned the sale of cigarettes inside the Vatican State.

A statement released on Thursday by Greg Burke, Director of the Holy See Press Office, explained that the Holy See "cannot be cooperating with a practice that is clearly harming the health of people."

The Vatican cited World Health Organization statistics that smoking causes more than seven million deaths worldwide every year.

Burke said cigarettes will not be sold at the Vatican as of the beginning of next year.

Burke acknowledged that the sale of cigarettes has been a source of revenue for the Holy See, but he said "no profit can be legitimate if it is costing people their lives."

"Although the cigarettes sold to employees and pensioners in the Vatican at a reduced price are a source of revenue for the Holy See, no profit can be legitimate if it puts lives at risk" the statement said.

He added, however, that the sale of large cigars would continue for the time being because the smoke is not inhaled, Vatican Radio reported.

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