Pope Francis loves nouns but is ‘allergic’ to adjectives
The Pope wants us to stop using so many adjectives.
In a speech on Monday to the Dicastery for Communications, the Vatican’s communications authority, Pope Francis urged people not to describe Christianity with qualifiers and adjectives. “We have fallen into the culture of adjectives and adverbs, and we have forgotten the strength of nouns,” he said.
Instead of calling churches “small but authentic,” or trying to distinguish things as “authentically Christian,” he said people should call them simply “Christian.” The term “Christian” is strong and authentic enough as it is, without the need for adjectives, he said.
“I am allergic to those words,” he added.
He pointed to the role of the employees as communications managers, saying their aim should be to “communicate with reality, without sweetening with adjectives or adverbs.” Communication is a kind of beauty, he said — and “beauty manifests itself from the noun itself, without strawberries on the cake.”
This was the first time the Pope met the Dicastery since first establishing it in 2015, when he had cited the need for a “rethinking” of the Holy See’s information system in a new age of digital media. He touched on this theme again in his Monday speech, encouraging the Dicastery to “encourage the formation of digital environments in which people communicate.”
Over the years, he has personally embraced these digital platforms — he launched an Instagram account in 2016, and gained a million followers in less than 12 hours. He’s also active on Twitter, and even tweeted out a reminder on Wednesday to “call people by their name, as the Lord does with us, and to give up using adjectives.”
The Pope’s Instagram and Twitter accounts are maintained by members of the Vatican.