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Pope urges priests and nuns to delete porn from their phones

Pope Francis, shown here in July, says the temptation of porn “weakens the priestly heart.” (Cole Burston/Getty Images)

Pope Francis warned priests and nuns against watching pornography online and urged them to delete it from their phones to avoid falling into temptation.

The 85-year-old pontiff told a Vatican session that porn on the internet was “a vice that so many people have … even priests and nuns,” in response to questions about using digital and social media responsibly.

“The devil enters from there. … It weakens the priestly heart,” he told seminarians and priests studying in Rome this week in remarks published by the Vatican on Wednesday.

“Dear brothers, pay attention to this,” he said. “And if you can delete this from your mobile phone, delete it, so you won’t have the temptation in hand.”

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The head of the Roman Catholic Church recounted that he had once received a mobile phone when he became a bishop, which he used to make a single call to his sister and immediately returned.

“It is not my world, but you must use it,” Francis said in comments about the benefits and risks of the internet. He asked his listeners to excuse him for mentioning porn but described it as “a reality.”

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“I will not say raise your hand if you have had at least one experience of this,” he added, asking them to reflect on it personally.

During his pontificate, Francis’s more outspoken — and at times less conservative — overtones than his predecessors, including his invitation of LGBT advocates to the Vatican, have drawn global attention and pushback from within the church.

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In his nine-year tenure, he has issued apologies at several points, notably for sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. Among them was a 2018 letter to Chilean bishops, in which he apologized for what he described as his own errors in handling a sex-abuse scandal. That year, the church was shaken by accusations that Francis knew and covered up the alleged sexual misconduct of an American cardinal, The Washington Post reported.

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In 2020, the Vatican said it would look into how the pope’s official Instagram account appeared to have liked a Brazilian model’s photo, in an incident that she quipped would help get her into heaven. The pope’s Instagram account, managed by a team under the username franciscus, has 8.9 million followers.

While he has been healthy during much of his papacy, recent medical issues have raised questions about whether Francis could retire, and he has acknowledged that he could have to slow down his globe-trotting pace. In December, he will become the oldest sitting pope since the 1800s.

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