VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Spending too much time looking in the mirror makes men and women conceited and focused on how their appearance, rather than their behavior, affects others, Pope Francis said.

When vanity becomes a part of life, “you begin to dialogue with the mirror with an attitude that is almost or totally narcissistic, arriving at a self-referential pathology,” the pope said Dec. 18 during a video conference call with students from Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan.

“I think we must be very careful when we try to judge ourselves,” he said. “We must be careful to not fall into the evaluation of the mirror because it will deceive us, it always deceives us.”


Of hundreds of questions for the pope submitted by students, eight were selected. One student from the Jesuit-run university asked Pope Francis what kind of image he had of himself.

The pope said that with the exception of brushing his hair or washing his face, “I try not to look at myself in the mirror.”

“It is something you have to beware of constantly because vanity can catch you anywhere,” he said.

Instead, Pope Francis said he tries “once or twice a day” to look inside himself and reflect on “things that I have heard throughout the day, in the things that have happened within me.”

He also said it was important to “judge myself by what I have done, the decisions I have made, or the attitude that I have had.”

“I think I am a sinner who God has loved very much and still loves. And this makes me very happy,” Pope Francis said.