Pope tells his followers to log off for Lent

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Pope Francis in a white suit

Pope Francis is calling on the faithful to log off for Lent – eschewing mobile phones and idle chit-chat for a nice quiet commune with God.

The Holy Father told pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square yesterday: "Lent is a time to disconnect from cell phones and connect to the Gospel...

"It is the time to give up useless words, chatter, rumours, gossip, and talk and to speak directly to the Lord."

According to Vatican News, the pontiff mused that "it is not easy to be in silence as we live in an environment that is 'polluted by too much verbal violence,' by so many 'offensive and harmful words' which are "amplified by the internet".

Pope Francis said that when he was a child, pre-internet and telly, his family would turn off the radio.

Thanks to WikiHow for tips on how to address the Pope – remember to genuflect when approached and "kiss his ring, when appropriate".

The Church of England has gone for an environmental theme for Lent this year: "Care for God's Creation."

Lent is observed by some Christians in the six-week run-up to Easter and is traditionally a time for fasting, contemplation and giving up rollerblading. ®

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