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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis: It is forbidden to replace Mass readings with poetry, testimonies or news

Despite the Roman cold, the pope held the General Audience in St. Peter's Square. A group of Italian children where in the first row, so Pope Francis invited them to ride with him around the plaza in the popemobile.

On the way, his favorite soccer team's shirt was thrown and he stopped to drink some mate tea from Chaco in Paraguay.

Then he continued his catechesis on the Mass and explained the Liturgy of the Word. He says that they are the Word of God, and that is why it is worth paying attention.

"How many times, when the Readings are being read, we begin to comment, 'Look at that, look at that, look at what a ridiculous hat she has,' and we start talking. Is this not true? It's true! Should comments be made while reading the Word of God? I'm asking you. Is it okay? No! Because if you start talking to others, you are not listening to the Word of God."

The pope also recalled that it is forbidden for the priest to replace the Readings with other texts, such as poetry, testimonies or news.

"Somebody says... 'There is news,' and brings out the newspaper, the news of the day. No, the Word of God is the Word of God. The newspaper can be read later. At Mass, the Word of God is read. It is the Lord who speaks to us. Substituting His Word with other things impoverishes and compromises the dialogue between God and his people in prayer."

The pope also said that whoever reads aloud has a great responsibility and he must prepare himself conscientiously beforehand.

"Look for good lectors, ok? Those who know how to read. Not those who read mi-mi-mi-mi, and you can't understand anything. Good lectors, ok? They have to prepare and rehearse before Mass to read well."

Before leaving, he recalled that Sacred Scripture is not only heard with our ears, but also with an open heart. In this way, what is heard can inspire a person's behavior.