There’s an unusual announcement coming out of the Vatican this week.
You say, “I’ll take clerical instruction for $800, Alex.”
Okay: Pope Francis told the Holy City’s communication team that modern man employs too many of these.
“What are adjectives and adverbs?”
Welcome to the Winner’s Circle.
As reported by Newsweek, all those modifiers are putting society in Jeopardy:
“We have fallen into the culture of adjectives and adverbs, and we have forgotten the strength of nouns.”
Francis is more than just not a fan:
“I am allergic to those words.”
The head of the Catholic Church explained, “The communicator must make people understand the weight of the reality of nouns that reflect the reality of people.”
An example of a goofy word he’s tired of: authentic.
“Why say ‘authentically Christian’? It is Christian! The mere fact of the noun ‘Christian,’ ‘I am Christ’ is strong: It is an adjective noun, yes, but it is a noun.”
An adjective noun?
The Bishop of Rome appears to believe language is getting tainted by the pervasiveness of biased descriptive words:
“And this is a mission of communication, to communicate with reality without sweetening with adjectives or adverbs.”
For more, here’s a summary of the Pope’s speech provided by the Vatican News service:
The Pope stressed the need to communicate “all that is true, just, good, and beautiful.” This must be done, he said, using “mind and heart, heads and hands – everything.” It is in love, he added, that we see the fullness of communication.
Pope Francis was firm about not engaging in a “commercial” style of communication that sets out to proselytize, or forcibly convert people. He quoted Pope emeritus Benedict XVI who once said, “the Church does not grow by proselytizing, but through witnessing.”
Communicating the Truth, means witnessing with your own life, said the Pope. “Being Christian means being witnesses, being martyrs.” He recalled the words of Saint Francis of Assisi, who said: “Preach the Gospel at all times. And when necessary, use words.” Witness, said the Pope, must always come first. Ours is a Church of martyrs, he added.
Pope Francis also warned against the temptation of “resignation.” Resignation, he said, does not reflect love for God. It exists in the pagan world, and Jesus Himself warns His disciples against the danger of “worldliness.” Do not fear “a Church of the few,” said the Pope, as long as we are like “salt, like yeast.”
The Pope suggested a style of communication that is “austere but beautiful.” Not a “Rococo” kind of beauty, he said, but a beauty that expresses itself “through nouns,” through “witness,” through involving oneself in communication.”
In case you’re wondering, “Rococo” means “of or relating to an artistic style especially of the 18th century characterized by fanciful curved asymmetrical forms and elaborate ornamentation.
It’s an intriguing directive from the head of a religion which is, in my view, fairly ornamental.
What are your thoughts on the Pope’s advice? And can you adequately communicate them while following it?
I look forward to hearing from you in the Comments section.
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