Your parents have told you not to bring your phone to the dinner table a thousand times, and now, the pope himself is joining in on the debate. Despite his reputation as one of the most forward-thinking members of the church to date, Pope Francis I still holds one thing quite sacred: family dinner. Last week at St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican, the pontiff addressed the issue saying, “Sadly the family meal, this great symbol of togetherness, is disappearing in some societies.” And chief to blame? That damn phone.
“A family that almost never eats together, or that never speaks at the table but looks at the television or the smartphone, is hardly a family,” Francis continued. “When children at the table are attached to the computer or the phone and don’t listen to each other, this is not a family, this is a pensioner!” Strong words from a man who recently created his own Twitter account. But then again, you probably don’t see Pope Francis tweeting at dinner.
“Sitting at table for the family dinner, sharing our meal and the experiences of our day, is a fundamental image of togetherness and solidarity,” he insisted. You know what’s also a fundamental image of togetherness and solidarity? That Instagram pic of your family dinner (that can’t happen anymore because the leader of the Roman Catholic Church wants you to put away your iPhone right now).
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Noting that a communal dinner time is a key moment for solidarity and healing, Francis noted, “In the family, if something is wrong, or if there’s some hidden wound, at the table you see it right away.” But if your face is buried in your phone, that may not be the case.
So sure, maybe you won’t be able to live tweet your dad’s horrible jokes, or photo-document your siblings’ matching outfits. But you’ll make the pope happy, and that’s what’s important, right?