January 11, 2016
JUNNO AROCHO ESTEVES
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

Singing is good for one's soul and, as St. Augustine says, Christian life is not a sad path but a joyous one that is done "singing and walking," Pope Francis said.

"Remember this: Sing and walk," the pope said Dec. 31 to 6,000 young choristers, their families, friends and choirmasters from 18 countries. "In this way, your soul will enjoy more the joy of the Gospel."

The young choir members took part in the Dec. 28-Jan. 1 International Congress of Pueri Cantores in Rome.

The pope took questions from several young choir members, choosing to address the youth off-the-cuff. A young girl asked the pope what he thought about their music and if he liked to sing.

"I would much rather like to hear you all sing today," the pope said. "But if I sang, I would sound like a donkey because I do not know how to sing. I don't even know how to speak well."

In his childhood, the pope said his mother would sit him and his siblings in front of the radio to listen to operas and explain the meaning of what was sung, so they learned to appreciate music.

"As a child, I learned the pleasure of listening to singing, but I could never sing," he said. "Also my grandfather, who was a carpenter, would always sing while he worked. And the pleasure of listening to someone sing I have had since I was little child."

Singing, he continued, educates the soul and does well for the soul. "St. Augustine says a beautiful phrase, and everyone should learn it. Speaking on Christian life, on the joy of Christian life, he says: 'Sing and walk.'

"Christian life is a path, but it is not a sad path, it is a joyous path, and this is why one must sing."

The next question was asked by another young girl. "How are you so good? Do you ever get angry?" she asked.

The pope remembered Jesus' response to the rich man who addressed him as "good master," saying "only God is good."

Admits to anger

He laughingly admitted, however, that while he does get angry, "I do not bite." The pope also said that although he gets mad when someone "does something that isn't good," he calms down by reflecting on the times he has angered others.

"Anger is poisonous, it poisons the soul," he warned. "To become angry doesn't only hurt others, it hurts you."