Lift up your hearts, not your cell phones, pope tells priests, bishops

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis on Wednesday chastised priests and bishops who take pictures with their cell phones during Masses, saying they should focus on God instead.

"The priest says 'lift up your hearts'. He does not say, 'lift up your cell 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 cell phones 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 cell phones held up. Not only by the faithful, but also by some priests and even bishops!

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Cell phones at the Vatican
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Cell phones at the Vatican
TOPSHOT - Pope Francis (R) arrives to lead his weekly general audience at Paul VI hall on December 21, 2016 at the Vatican as people take pictures of him with their cell-phone. / AFP / Alberto PIZZOLI (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)
A faithful uses her mobile phone before Pope Francis leads the audience for workers and volunteers of mercy at the Vatican, September 3, 2016. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini
People wave and rise their mobile phones as Pope Francis greets the crowd from the popemobile after the celebration of a mass marking the end of the Jubilee of Mercy, on November 20, 2016 in Vatican. Pope Francis on Sunday brought to a close the Catholic Church's 'Year of Mercy,' shutting the Holy Door at Saint Peter's after a packed 12 months that saw him raise Mother Teresa to sainthood and re-home Syrian Muslim refugees. / AFP / TIZIANA FABI (Photo credit should read TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images)
A child takes a picture of Pope Francis during the weekly audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican August 3, 2016. REUTERS/Max Rossi
Pope Francis kisses a baby as he arrives for his general audience at St Peter's square on May 13, 2015 at the Vatican. AFP PHOTO / VINCENZO PINTO (Photo credit should read VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)
Faithful record with mobile phones as Pope Francis leaves after his Wednesday general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican November 23, 2016. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini
People take pictures with their cell phones in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, July 2, 2017. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi
People use mobile phones to take pictures as Pope Francis arrives to lead his Wednesday general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican, November 23, 2016. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini
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"The Mass is not a show ... so remember, no cell 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 cell phone in public since his election.

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Pope Francis visits US military cemetery
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Pope Francis visits US military cemetery
Pope Francis passes graves, before a Mass at the U.S. World War II cemetery on the day Christians around the world commemorate their dead, in Nettuno, near Rome, Italy, November 2, 2017. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini
Pope Francis celebrates a Mass at the U.S. World War II cemetery on the day Christians around the world commemorate their dead, in Nettuno, near Rome, Italy, November 2, 2017. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
Pope Francis leaves a white rose on the grave before a Mass at the U.S. World War II cemetery, in Nettuno, near Rome, Italy, November 2, 2017. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini
Pope Francis prays before a Mass at the U.S. World War II cemetery, in Nettuno, near Rome, Italy, November 2, 2017. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini
Pope Francis celebrates a Mass at the U.S. World War II cemetery on the day Christians around the world commemorate their dead, in Nettuno, near Rome, Italy, November 2, 2017. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
Pope Francis prays before a Mass at the U.S. World War II cemetery on the day Christians around the world commemorate their dead, in Nettuno, near Rome, Italy, November 2, 2017. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini
Pope Francis leaves white roses on the memorial in the Fosse Ardeatine (Ardeatine Caves) in Rome, Italy, November 2, 2017. REUTERS/Vincenzo Pinto/Pool
Pope Francis leaves a white rose on a grave before a Mass at the U.S. World War II cemetery, on the day Christians around the world commemorate their dead, in Nettuno, near Rome, Italy, November 2, 2017. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini
Pope Francis prays at the memorial in the Fosse Ardeatine (Ardeatine Caves) in Rome, Italy, November 2, 2017. REUTERS/Vincenzo Pinto/Pool
Pope Francis prays before a Mass at the U.S. World War II cemetery, in Nettuno, near Rome, Italy, November 2, 2017. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini
Pope Francis celebrates a mass at the U.S. World War II cemetery on the day Christians around the world commemorate their dead, in Nettuno, near Rome, Italy, November 2, 2017. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
Pope Francis prays at the memorial in the Fosse Ardeatine (Ardeatine Caves) in Rome, Italy, November 2, 2017. REUTERS/Vincenzo Pinto/Pool
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(Reporting By Philip Pullella, Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)

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