In a speech to the Vatican communications team, Pope Francis gives his view on language use. He particularly goes berserk on adjectives, saying: “I am allergic to those words.” The Pope wants us to give up using adjectives altogether and use nouns instead.
Pope Francis encouraged people to stop describing Christianity with quantifiers and adjectives and use nouns instead. He particularly takes issue with the adjective “authentic” especially when it’s used to describe “authentic Christians”. “We have fallen into the culture of adjectives and adverbs, and we have forgotten the strength of nouns,” he said.
Apparently, the Pope has a soft spot for nouns:
“The communicator must make people understand the weight of the reality of nouns that reflect the reality of people. And this is a mission of communication: to communicate with reality, without sweetening with adjectives or adverbs,” the Pope says. He further praises nouns and takes aim at adjectives by saying that communication is a kind of beauty and “beauty manifests itself from the noun itself, without strawberries on the cake.”
This was the first time the Pope met the Dicastery since first establishing it in 2015 when he had cited the need for a “rethinking” of the Holy See’s information system in a new age of digital media. He touched on this theme again in his Monday speech, encouraging the Dicastery to “encourage the formation of digital environments in which people communicate.”
Over the years, he has personally embraced these digital platforms — he launched an Instagram account in 2016 and gained a million followers in less than 12 hours. He’s also active on Twitter, and even tweeted out a reminder on Wednesday to “call people by their name, as the Lord does with us, and to give up using adjectives.”
The Pope’s Instagram and Twitter accounts are maintained by members of the Vatican.
AWM explained it further:
Why does the Pope feel it is necessary to talk to Catholics about the use of adjectives? It is because adjectives taint the truth of a noun. They can weaken it and erode its meaning. Let’s refer to the example the Pope provided – authentic Christian. If this phrase is being used, that implies that Christians alone are not authentic. By adding the adjective to modify the word Christian, the Pope feels that these nouns, which once stood strong by themselves, are reduced and become meaningless.