Pope Francis Speaks Out on Paris and Peace
VATICAN – Following the first part of his seventh apostolic trip, on the flight from Colombo to Manila, Pope Francis spent forty minutes answering questions posed by the journalists who accompanied him on a number of issues relating not only to his trip to Sri Lanka and the Philippines, but also the attacks in Paris, freedom of worship and expression, security on papal trips and his forthcoming encyclical. This latter, he said, is likely to be completed around the end of March and published in June or July.
The following is a summary of some of the Pope’s answers.
On suicide and kamikaze attacks
“Behind every suicide attack there is an element of human imbalance; I do not know if this can be considered mental imbalance, but human. There is something that does not function in this person. He is not balanced in terms of the meaning of his life, of his own life and that of others. He gives his life, but he does not do so in the right way. Many people work – missionaries, for example – giving their own lives, but constructively. This, instead, is self-destruction in order to destroy”.
On security during papal trips and terrorist threats
“The best way to respond is with gentleness. To be gentle, humble. … I worry about the safety of the faithful, and have spoken about this with the Vatican security officials. … Am I afraid? I have a fault, a large dose of recklessness … but I know that it is necessary to take security measures, prudent but sure”.
On freedom of worship and expression
“I believe that these are both fundamental human rights. … We are talking about Paris, let”s be clear. Everyone has the right to practice their own religion freely, without offending. … One cannot offend, make war and kill in the name of their religion, that is, in God’s name. What is happening shocks us. But let us think about how many wars there have been in the name of religion, throughout history. … We too are sinners in this respect. But we must not kill in the God’s name. This is an aberration. … Every person has not only the freedom, the right, but also the duty to say what he or she thinks in aid of the common good … but without offending. It is true that one should not react violently, but if my friend insults my mother he can expect a punch! It is normal, one should not provoke, one should not insult other people’s faith. There is a limit, and there are limits to the freedom of expression”.