Pope on 2018: Forget life's useless baggage, empty chatter.
VATICAN CITY Pope Francis is advising people to jettison life's "useless baggage" in 2018, avoiding the "banality of consumerism" and "empty chatter." Francis offered his reflections on how to savor the real meaning of life as he celebrated New Year's Day mass yesterday in St.
Peter's Basilica. His recipe for getting down to the essentials includes setting aside a moment of silence daily to be with God.
He said doing so would help "keep our freedom from being corroded by the banality of consumerism, the blare of commercials, the stream of empty words and the overpowering waves of empty chatter and loud shouting." Francis recommended leaving behind "all sorts of useless baggage" to "rediscover what really matters" and start over from that.
At an earlier New Year's Eve prayer service in St. Peter's Basilica, Pope Francis decried wars, injustices, social and environmental degradation and other man-made ills which he said spoiled the year.
Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1 Francis presided at the prayer service, a traditional occasion to say thanks in each year's last hours. In his homily, the pope said God gave to us a "whole and sound" year, but "we humans in so many ways ruined and hurt it with works of death, with lies and injustices.
" "The wars are the flagrant sign of this repeated and absurd pride," he said. "But so are all the little and big offenses against life, truth, brotherhood, that cause multiple forms of human, social and environmental degradation.
" Francis added: "We want to, and must assume, before God, our brothers and Creation our responsibility" for the harm. Despite the gloom, Francis said "gratitude prevails," thanks to those who "cooperate silently for the common good.
" He singled out parents and educators who try to raise young people with a sense of responsible ethics. After the solemn basilica service, Francis strolled outside, briskly crisscrossing St.
Peter's Square to shake hands and banter with well-wishers and kiss babies held by some of the thousands of faithful who waited for hours for a glimpse of him. The evening was warm, and Francis went without the white coat an aide carried for him.