Pope Francis holds an image of Santa Teresa presented by a journalist after his press conference on a flight from Sri Lanka to Manila. (Alessandra Tarantino/AP/Pool)
Pope Francis holds an image of Santa Teresa presented by a journalist after his press conference on a flight from Sri Lanka to Manila. (Alessandra Tarantino/AP/Pool)
Pope Francis holds an image of Santa Teresa presented by a journalist after his press conference on a flight from Sri Lanka to Manila. (Alessandra Tarantino/AP/Pool)

(The Washington Post) – A week after the massacre at the headquarters of a French publication known for insulting adherents of several faiths, Pope Francis told reporters that freedom of expression has its limits when it comes to insulting religion.

Or, he joked, his mom.

Calling freedom of expression a “fundamental” human right, the pope outlined why he believes there are limits to that right. If someone “says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch,” he joked, according to an Associated Press translation. “It’s normal. It’s normal. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.”

Despite joking about his mother, Francis also condemned violent retaliation. “One cannot offend, make war, kill in the name of one’s own religion — that is, in the name of God,” the pope said. “To kill in the name of God is an aberration.”

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