Take pope’s advice: World must dial down aggression Print
Written by Mary C. Uhler   
Thursday, Jun. 16, 2016 -- 12:00 AM

Not long before the shooting tragedy in Orlando, I read about a message Pope Francis gave to a group of YouTubers from around the world.

About 12 young people who create their own videos and blogs had the privilege of meeting privately with the Holy Father at the Vatican. These YouTube celebrities apparently have about 25 million subscribers combined.

Dial down aggressiveness

Pope Francis urged them to help wipe out bullying and aggression by being better listeners and offering concrete gestures of tolerance and patience.

“The level of aggressiveness in our world needs to be dialed down,” Pope Francis told them, saying that the world “needs tenderness, meekness, (people) listening and walking together. Pride, arrogance — eradicate them. Because pride and arrogance always have a bad ending,”

After hearing about the situation in Orlando, I thought about what the Holy Father said. Although I haven’t heard much about the background of the shooter at the nightclub yet, I wouldn’t doubt that he might have seen videos or communicated with people online about hatred for gay people. There is so much vitriol (definition = cruel and bitter criticism) found on the internet.

And how do some people react? By fueling the bitterness and prejudice, instead of calming it down. Violence seems to be seen as a way to vent their feelings, rather than talking or understanding others’ points of view.

How do we react?

We should all think about how we deal with our own feelings and prejudices. Are we contributing to the aggressiveness in our society? Can we help dial down the aggression, as the Holy Father suggests?

We should examine our own habits in our use of social media. Do we put up with those who tear others down? Is our silence in effect supporting those who bully others?

As we pray for peace and understanding in our world, let’s not just put the blame on other people. Let’s take positive steps to tone down aggression.