Pope Francis at his Wednesday audience in St. Peter’s Square on April 12, 2023. Daniel Ibáñez/CNA

Vatican City, Rome |  THE INDEPENDENT | Pope Francis has told “keyboard warriors” to put aside online polemics and get out from behind their desks to proclaim the Gospel.

Speaking in St. Peter’s Square on April 12, the pope urged Christians to go out and “get moving” to share the good news of the Gospel with the world.

“One does not proclaim the Gospel standing still, locked in an office, at one’s desk or at one’s computer, engaging in polemics like ‘keyboard warriors’ and replacing the creativity of proclamation with copy-and-paste ideas taken from here and there,” Pope Francis said.

“The Gospel is proclaimed by moving, by walking, by going.

In his Wednesday audience, the pope warned that it is possible to have “misdirected zeal” that is “doggedly persistent in the observance of purely human and obsolete norms for the Christian community.”

“We cannot ignore the solicitude with which some devote themselves to the wrong pursuits even within the Christian community itself; one can boast of a false evangelical zeal while actually pursuing vainglory or one’s own convictions,” he said.

As part of the pope’s cycle of catechesis on “passion for evangelization,” Francis offered a reflection on two lines from St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians: “Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground. So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace.”

Pope Francis noted that St. Paul connects zeal for the Gospel with footwear “because one who goes to proclaim must move, must walk.”

“Evangelical zeal is the support on which proclamation is based, and heralds are somewhat like the feet of the body of Christ that is the Church,” he said.

At the end of the audience, Pope Francis marked the 60th anniversary of the publication of St. John XXIII’s encyclical Pacem in Terris, calling the document a “true blessing” for the world when it was published in 1963 amid the tensions of the Cold War.