Pope Francis, the head of the Roman Catholic Church, has reached out to Catholics the world over to give up online trolling for this year’s Lent. To be precise, the Pope actually asked us to disconnect from our mobile devices and to stop hurling insults at each other like we would say “Hello”.
The request is a modern twist on an age-old Catholic tradition. For the non-Catholics out there, Lent is a time when followers of the faith fast for 40 days and nights. Emulating Jesus when he went into the desert for the same period of time to fast and pray. To put it plainly, it’s like Ramadhan for Muslim, but there are differences in the way followers of the two faiths practice fasting and prayers during their respective holy periods.
To his credit, His Holiness isn’t wrong in asking Catholics to abstain from trolling, and it’s far from unreasonable either. After all, Lent is usually a time of self-reflection for Catholics, and while prayer may not necessarily be a modern day solution to the problem. The act of disconnecting from the internet, to a measurable extent, is a modern solution.
Of course, like most call-to-Lent speeches, Pope Francis also asked Catholics to give other acts besides trolling. This includes giving up gossiping and what The Verge aptly described as “hypocritical condemnation of others”.