Pope Francis has spoken out against what he called today’s “culture of insults” in the world.
In his homily during Pentecost Mass in St Peter’s Square, Francis also said that “the more we use social media, the less social we are becoming”.
He warned of the temptation to cling to “our little group, to the things and people we like,” saying it was only a “small step from a nest to a sect, even within the church”.
The pope said that “nowadays it is fashionable to hurl adjectives”, and recommended people respond “to malice with goodness, to shouting with silence, to gossip with prayer, to defeatism with encouragement.”
Francis said the Catholic Church risks becoming a mere organisation with propaganda as its mission instead of a drive to foster joy and harmony.
He said: “In today’s world, lack of harmony has led to stark divisions.
“There are those who have too much and those who have nothing, those who want to live to 100 and those who cannot even be born.”
After Mass, the Vatican released a papal message about the church’s mission in the world.
Francis echoed a call a century ago by Pope Benedict XV, after the devastation of the First World War, for “an end to all forms of nationalism and ethnocentrism”.
He also cited a reminder by the same pope that “the church’s universal mission requires setting aside exclusivist ideas of membership in one’s own country and ethnic group”.
Francis said: “No one ought to remain closed in self-absorption.”