Pope spoke of unity through laughter at ‘conclave of comedians’


The Pope offered a global gathering – jokingly described as a ‘conclave of comedians’ – a cheerful welcome and a serious message when they met him at the Vatican last Friday.

Pope Francis had invited the 107 comics, stand-up comedians and humorists to the meeting. They included Sister Act star Whoopi Goldberg and big name funny men Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien.

Joking with God

Making fun of God as long as the joke is not offensive is ok, Francis told his visitors.

“Can we also laugh at God? Of course, it’s not blasphemy. We can, just as we play and joke with the people we love.”

But humour “does not offend, humiliate or put people down according to their flaws.”

Lightening the gloom

“You are among the most loved, sought after, applauded” he said.

“Certainly because you are good; but there is also another reason: you have and cultivate the gift of making people laugh.

“In the midst of so much gloomy news, immersed as we are in so many social and even personal emergencies, you have the power to spread serenity and smiles.

“In your own way you unite people, because laughter is contagious.

“It is easier to laugh together than alone: joy opens one to sharing and is the best antidote to selfishness and individualism.

“Laughing also helps to break down social barriers, to create connections between people.

“You also succeed in another miracle” he said.

“You know how to awaken the critical sense without spreading alarm or terror and without humiliating anyone. Help us, with a smile, to see reality with its contradictions and to dream of a better world.”

That’s because comedians can make people smile “even when dealing with problems, small and big facts of history” Francis said.

“You denounce the excesses of power; you give voice to forgotten situations; you highlight abuses; you point out inadequate behaviour…

“But without spreading alarm or terror, anxiety or fear, as much communication does…

“You do this by telling life stories, by narrating reality according to your own original point of view; and in this way you speak to people about small and big problems.”


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