Don’t get mad, just drink a glass of water, says pope

Pope Francis made a plug for peace Monday and shared practical advice with children from around the world, including Ukraine and the Palestinian Territories, as he welcomed thousands of youngsters to the Vatican.

Francis, who turns 87 in December, appeared jovial and energetic presiding over the “Children meet the pope” event, in which the head of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics took questions from among the 7,000 young people in the audience.

“Let’s work for peace, all of us!” said the pope to his rapt audience, some of whom posed questions about war and the environment, along with more personal queries, including how he keeps his cool when he’s mad.

Children ages 7 to 12 from among 84 countries had been pre-selected to ask questions of the pope, including about peace, conflict, and the environment.

“Why do they kill babies during wars and no one defends them,” asked one little boy from Syria.

A girl who said she was Palestinian asked whether, were a third world war to break out, “will peace never come back?”

Another asked why the weather was so hot even though it was already autumn.

The pope, seated on the stage of the Paul VI Audience Hall, had the children observe a moment of silence for babies killed during wars, and instructed them that peace-making started with “an outstretched hand, with the hand of friendship”.

Earlier in the day, Francis told a delegation from the Conference of European Rabbis that he was not feeling well, choosing not to read his prepared speech to them.

But with the children, the pope seemed in top form, signing baseball caps after the event and shaking hands with his young fans.

“Don’t waste food!” he told the young people. “Throwing away food is a big sin.”

Asked what he dreams about, he confessed that he couldn’t remember because when he dreams he is asleep.

Another child asked how he  kept from getting mad.

“It’s true that sometimes I get mad… but I don’t bite!” he joked.

“When you’re mad, before responding, drink a glass of water,” he advised the youngsters.


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