Pope Francis has a confession to make: He is terrible with computers. The global leader of the Roman Catholic Church made this admission, which he called his “shame,” in a group video chat room with teens with disabilities from around the world on Google Hangout Thursday.
Alicia, 16, from Spain, asked Francis if he “liked taking photos with his computer,” to which he replied: “Do you want me to tell you the truth? I’m a disaster with machines,” according to Associated Press. “I don’t know how to work a computer. What a shame!”
The pope’s Luddite admission came as seven youngsters aged 11 to 18 from Brazil, India, Spain and the United States showed the pontiff how technology -- including braille keypads, tablets and video cameras -- helped them overcome their disabilities, Francis’ held the video conference from a Vatican audience hall during a conference of his Scholas Occurentes, an initiative to connect young people around the world using technology, sports and art.
“What do you do when you face something difficult?” asked Isaiah Bower, an 18-year old Nebraskan with growth hormone deficiency. “First thing is not to get angry; there is no need to get angry,” replied Francis. “Be calm, and then look for a way to overcome it and surpass it. If I cannot surpass it, then I must withstand it until the ability to surpass it comes along.” He added that time will help with understanding difficulties, but it is important to “never be afraid.”
Google launched the initiative’s Google Plus page on Thursday, with Francis’ video chat with the youths available for public viewing on the page. The chat is titled “The Pope Builds Bridges by Connecting with Children.”
While the pope may not know how to work a computer, he has not shied away from engaging it, having had another Google Hangout session with teenagers from Australia, Israel, Turkey, South Africa and El Salvador in September.
Francis concluded his session with this message: "That’s what I wanted to tell you kids. Go forward! What you do, in the place that you're in, helps all of us to understand that life is a beautiful treasure, but it only has meaning if we give it."
Watch the video here.