Pope Francis on Wednesday chastised priests and bishops who take pictures with their smartphones during Masses, saying they should focus on God instead.
“The priest says ‘lift up your hearts’. He does not say, ‘lift up your mobile 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, he called using smartphones 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 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 phones!” he said, prompting laughter and applause from the crowd.
Francis, the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion 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 mobile phone in public since his election.