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Counteract vitriol by toning it down, talking less, listening more, pope says


  • Pope Francis gestures as he talks during a Feb. 17 meeting at Roma Tre University. (CNS photo/Max Rossi, Reuters)
  • Pope Francis poses for a selfie as he arrives for a Feb. 17 meeting at Roma Tre University. (CNS photo/Max Rossi, Reuters)
  • Pope Francis greets people as he arrives for a Feb. 17 meeting at Roma Tre University. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano, handout)
  • Pope Francis greets a woman as he arrives for a Feb. 17 meeting at Roma Tre University. (CNS photo/Max Rossi, Reuters)
  • Pope Francis greets people as he arrives for a Feb. 17 meeting at Roma Tre University. (CNS photo/Max Rossi, Reuters)
  • Pope Francis gestures as he talks during a meeting Feb. 17 at Roma Tre University. (CNS photo/Max Rossi, Reuters)

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ROME (CNS) -- Addressing the fear of immigrants, dissatisfaction with a "fluid economy" and the impatience and vitriol seen in politics and society, Pope Francis told Rome university students to practice a kind of "intellectual charity" that promotes dialogue and sees value in diversity.

"There are lots of remedies against violence," but they must start first with one's heart being open to hearing other people's opinions and then talking things out with patience, he said in a 45-minute off-the-cuff talk.

"It necessary to tone it down a bit, to talk less and listen more," he told hundreds of students, staff and their family members and friends during a visit Feb. 17 to Roma Tre University.

Arriving at the university, the pope slowly made his way along a long snaking pathway of metal barricades throughout the campus, smiling, shaking hands and posing for numerous selfies with smiling members of the crowd. When handed a small baby cocooned in a bright red snowsuit for a papal kiss, the pope joked whether the child was attending the university, too.

Seated on a platform facing an open courtyard, the pope listened to questions from four students, including Nour Essa, who was one of the 12 Syrian refugees the pope had brought to Rome on a papal flight from Lesbos, Greece, in 2016.

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