POPE Francis has spoken out against what he called today's "culture of insults" in the world.

In his homily during Pentecost Mass in St Peter's Square, Francis also said that "the more we use social media, the less social we are becoming".

He warned of the temptation to cling to "our little group, to the things and people we like," saying it was only a "small step from a nest to a sect, even within the church".

The pope said that "nowadays it is fashionable to hurl adjectives", and recommended people respond "to malice with goodness".

Francis said the Catholic Church risks becoming a mere organisation with propaganda as its mission instead of a drive to foster joy and harmony.