In his weekly Angelus address, Pope Francis yesterday highlighted Jesus’ commandment, “Thou shalt not kill,” saying the edict applied not only to actual homicide, “but also to those behaviors which offend the dignity of the human person, including insulting words.”
“Certainly, these injurious words do not have the same gravity and do not lead to the same verdict of guilt as homicide, but they are placed on the same level because they are the premise of more serious acts and reveal the same malevolence,” he said.
Francis may have been referring to criticism he has received this past week, as well as tensions over the maneuvering of conservatives opposed to his reforms of Church teaching and governance.
“We are used to insults,” he said. “It is like saying, ‘Good morning’.”
But “who insults his brother kills that brother in his heart,” the pontiff added.
On February 4, Romans woke up to more than 200 posters of a stern-faced pope plastered all over the city, with a caption asking in Italian, “But where is your mercy?”
In an interview, Francis is said to have finally answered questions submitted by four ultra-conservative cardinals seeking to clarify the Church’s position on giving communion to divorced and now-remarried Catholics.
After Francis did not respond directly to their questions, the cardinals made them public.