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Pope hits out against sarcasm

Pope John Paul II described sarcasm as a modern form of martyrdom, suggesting a sarcastic person delights in "isolating the righteous with mockery and irony".

"We know that the persecutor does not always assume the violent and macabre countenance of the oppressor," he told this week's Wednesday audience at the Vatican.

The Pope's comments on sarcasm were part of a series of catechetical talks on the Psalms and Canticles of the Old Testament.

He was reflecting on the attitude of the three young Israelites who sang in the fiery furnace, to which they were condemned by King Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 3).

"Despite the extreme danger, when the flames were already licking their bodies, they found the strength 'to praise, glorify and bless God,' certain that the Lord of the cosmos and history would not abandon them to death and nothingness," John Paul II said.


General Audience of John Paul II, Wednesday 19 February 2003
Daniel 3 (New American Bible)

21 Feb 2003