Sound of silence: Papal Nuncio urges youth to turn off their phones


CEBU CITY — The apostolic nuncio of the Vatican to the Philippines on Sunday urged the Filipino youth participating in the six-day National Youth Day to free themselves from cellphone addiction and find peace in silence.

Archbishop Gabriele Giordano Caccia hailed the relevance of mobile phones to the youth, however he said that when “one becomes a slave to the phone, you lose your freedom.”

“The mobile phone is a great help. It’s a progress. It’s nice that everyone knows how to use it… When the mobile phone is dragged, communication is reduced to simple contacts. But it is not (just) contact, it needs to communicate,” Caccia said in his 20-minute homily during the closing mass of the National Youth Day 2019 at the Cebu City Sports Center.

Caccia called on the young pilgrims “not to be afraid of silence.”

“It’s necessary to take care one’s own interiority and listen to one’s conscience. Carved out spaces of silence. Don’t be afraid of silence, of being alone. But take some time (to be) alone,” he said, quoting Pope Francis.

The Papal Nuncio said the “truth lives within the person and only in inner silence can the voice of conscience be grasped and distinguished from the voice of selfishness and hedonism, which are different voices.”

“So the first step to reach peace is to start (it) with silence,” he added.

The head of the apostolic nunciature in the country also prodded the youth pilgrims to spend time in silence alone, without the mobile phone.

“I invite you. Every day, put a timer in the mobile phone for 10 minutes alone, in the room, or could be in open, until your phone rings,” he said. “And listen to yourself the voices of conscience. Think what is life. What is supposed to be done? What is just and what is wrong.”

He reminded the youth of St. Teresa of Calcutta’s expression on silence that the “fruit of silence is prayer, the fruit of prayer is
faith, the fruit of faith is love, the fruit of love is service, and
the fruit of service is peace.”

The “substituto” of Pope Francis here in the Philippines was joined by
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, Catholic Bishops Conference of the
Philippines (CBCP) president, Archbishop Romulo Valles, and around 20
more bishops and hundreds of members of the clergy in the closing mass
attended by 12,000 delegates.