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Eat with your family, not with your smartphone, Pope says

Friday 13 November 2015, by SIGNIS

Rome, Brussels, November 13th, 2015 (SIGNIS/Canaafrica/CNS). Pope Francis has advised parents not to allow smartphones at the dinner table, to help restore a sense of family togetherness and to teach their children about the importance of relationships.

In his weekly catechesis in St. Peter’s Square, the pope said that family togetherness is “a sure thermometer for measuring the health of relationships. If something isn’t going well in a family, or if there’s some hidden wound, it immediately becomes clear at the dinner table. A family that almost never eats together or that, rather than talking at table, watches television or looks at the Smartphone, is not much of a family. When the children are attached to the computer and the telephone at the table, and don’t listen to one another, this isn’t family, it’s a hostel!”

While the pope acknowledged that today’s world poses many obstacles to family togetherness, he said that “we have to find a way to recover it.” And one place to start is the dinner table. “At the table we talk, at the table we listen,” he said. “No more silence, that silence that isn’t the silence of nuns but the silence of selfishness, where everyone does his own thing, or is on the television or computer … and they don’t talk. No, no silence. We need to recover family togetherness while adapting it to the times.”

During his general audience catechesis, Pope Francis also spoke about the importance of Catholic families attending Holy Mass together; he called on mothers and fathers to care for and protect all children, not just their own; and he took to task Western advertisers that promote an obsession with snacks and sweets while so many people in the world are starving, in body and soul.

He concluded that “no division can withstand” the Eucharistic banquet. He added that by cooperating with the grace of the Eucharist, “ever new communion” can be created through the power of the Sacrament that “includes and saves.”

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