Pope advocates family meal time

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — A family that chooses to watch TV or play with their smartphones rather than talk at the dinner table is “hardly a family,” Pope Francis said.

“When children at the dinner table are glued to the computer, or the telephone and do not listen to one another, they are not a family, they are retired,” the pope said Nov. 11 during his weekly general audience.

Continuing his catechetical series on family life, the pope reflected on the theme of togetherness, which is manifested at the dinner table. The pope said that “to share a meal — and not just food, but also affection, stories, events — is a fundamental experience.”

The pope said Christians have a special vocation to foster family togetherness. The dinner table, he noted, is the place chosen by Jesus to teach his disciples and where he summarized the meaning of his death on the cross “that nourishes true and everlasting love.”

For this reason, the family feels “at home” at the celebration of the Eucharist where they bring their “experience of togetherness and open it to the grace of a universal coexistence, of the love of God for the world,” he said.