Manila, Philippines (CNN) As he traveled to the Philippines on Thursday, Pope Francis weighed in on last week’s terror in France as well as the controversy over a targeted magazine’s depictions of the Prophet Mohammed, saying people “cannot insult other people’s faith,” nor should they “kill in the name of God.”
The Pope made clear there was no justification for the killing of 17 people in three separate terror attacks, including a massacre in and around the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. The assailants were reportedly Islamist extremists, some of whom called out “Allahu akbar,” which is Arabic for “God is great,” as they singled out the magazine, French authorities and Jewish people.
“One cannot make war (or) kill in the name of one’s own religion,” Francis said on his way to the Philippines. “… To kill in the name of God is an aberration.”
Still, even as he decried the violence and generally spoke in support of freedom of expression, the pontiff said that such freedom must have its limits.
He didn’t mention Charlie Hebdo specifically, or its cartoon depictions of Mohammed, something that many Muslims find offensive. A previous cartoon was one reason the Paris magazine was targeted, and it didn’t back down afterward, with its post-attack cover showing Mohammed again, this time crying and holding a sign with the rallying cry “Je suis Charlie,” French for “I am Charlie.”
“One cannot provoke, one cannot insult other people’s faith, one cannot make fun of faith,” Francis said on the flight from Colombo, Sri Lanka, to Manila.
The pontiff said everyone had not only the liberty, but also the obligation, “to say what he thinks to help the common good.”
But he said this should be done without giving offense, because human dignity should be respected.
If a friend “says a swear word against my mother, then a punch awaits him,” Francis said.
In the same way, he said, everyone has the right to practice his or her own religion, but also without giving offense or being violent.