Pope to Comedians: Help Dream a Better World

Pope Francis meets with more than 100 comedians from all over the world to inspire people and help them see reality in all its contradictions.

By Christopher Wells

Comedians are among the most loved and applauded entertainers, Pope Francis said Friday morning, because they “have and cultivate the gift of making people laugh.”

In the midst of so many “dark messages”, public and personal crises, comedians can spread “peace and smiles” and are among the few who can speak to “very different, different generations and different cultural backgrounds.”

Precisely because “laughter is contagious,” it can “break down social barriers and create connections,” the Pope said, noting that comedians remind us that “playfulness and laughter are central to human life.”

A priceless gift

Pope Francis told comedians that they have a precious gift that can “spread peace in hearts and among people, help overcome difficulties and cope with daily stress.”

The Holy Father highlighted another “miracle” of comedians, their ability to make people laugh even when dealing with serious issues. “You condemn the excesses of power, give voice to forgotten situations, highlight abuses, point out inappropriate behavior…but without spreading alarm and fear, anxiety or fear,” he told them.

Making God laugh

Taking a strange twist, Pope Francis pointed out that in creation, “divine wisdom practiced your art for the benefit of God, the first observer of history, and no one else.”

“Remember this,” he told comedians. “When you bring a wise smile to the lips of a spectator, you make God smile too.”

No one is ‘against’

He emphasized that thinking and speaking with a sense of humor can help us understand and make sense of human nature. Humor, the pope said, “doesn’t hurt, doesn’t humiliate, doesn’t ‘nail’ people for their mistakes.” Unlike other forms of communication, humor is “never ‘against’ anyone, but always inclusive and proactive, and inspires openness, sympathy and empathy.

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Indeed, the Pope said, “We can laugh at God just as we play and joke with those we love.” But this should be done without hurting the religious sentiments of the faithful, especially the poor, he said.

Dreaming of a better world

Pope Francis concluded his address by blessing the attendees and their art. “Keep encouraging people, especially when it’s hard to look at life with optimism,” he said. “With a smile, help us see reality with its contradictions and dream of a better world!”

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