Subscribe

Pope Francis Speaks Out on Charlie Hebdo: 'One Cannot Make Fun of Faith'

Wind blows Pope Francis' mantle as he delivers his speech at Bandaranaike International Airport in Katunayake, Sri Lanka, on Jan. 13, 2015 - Ishara S. Kodikara—AFP/Getty Images
Wind blows Pope Francis' mantle as he delivers his speech at Bandaranaike International Airport in Katunayake, Sri Lanka, on Jan. 13, 2015 Ishara S. Kodikara—AFP/Getty Images

But: “To kill in the name of God is an aberration”

Elizabeth Dias is a TIME correspondent covering politics and religion.

For Pope Francis, there are limits to free speech.

The Holy Father spoke to journalists in a broad interview on the papal flight to the Philippines about the Charlie Hebdo massacre and the controversy about the magazine’s new cover this week. Religious freedom and freedom of expression, he said, are fundamental human rights. But they are also not a total liberties. “There is a limit,” he said, speaking in Italian. “Every religion has its dignity. I cannot mock a religion that respects human life and the human person.”

The Pope also condemned the Paris violence. “One cannot offend, make war, kill in the name of one’s own religion, that is, in the name of God,” Francis said. “To kill in the name of God is an aberration.”

More from TIME

Police officers carry the flag-draped coffins of three police officers killed in the recent terror attacks during a ceremony to posthumously decorate them with the Légion d’Honneur at the Invalides in Paris, France, on Jan. 13, 2015. Patrick Kovarik—AFP/Getty Images
Police Officers line up at the funeral of murdered police officer Ahmed Merabet during the burial at a Muslim cemetery in Bobigny, France, on Jan. 13, 2015. Dan Kitwood—Getty Images
The funeral of murdered police officer Ahmed Merabet takes place at a Muslim cemetery in Bobigny, France, on Jan. 13, 2015. Dan Kitwood—Getty Images
Police officers participate in the burial of murdered police officer Ahmed Merabet at a Muslim cemetery in Bobigny, France, on Jan. 13, 2015. Dan Kitwood—Getty Images
A female mourner reacts during the funeral of murdered police officer Ahmed Merabet at a Muslim cemetery in Bobigny, France, on Jan. 13, 2015. Christopher Furlong—Getty Images
Family members of police officer Ahmed Merabet hold his cap and his Légion d’Honneur decoration during his funeral at a Muslim cemetery in Bobigny, France, on Jan. 13, 2015. Dan Kitwood—Getty Images
Family and relatives of Yoav Hattab, a Jewish victim of the attack on a kosher grocery store in Paris, gather around a symbolic coffin for his funeral procession in Bnei Brak, near Tel Aviv, Israel, on Jan. 13, 2015. Oded Balilty—AP
An ultra-Orthodox man prays at the funeral of four Jews, who were killed in a terrorist attack on a kosher supermarket in Paris last week, at a cemetery in Jerusalem on Jan. 13, 2015. Gali Tibbon—AFP/Getty Images
Crowds mourn the four Jews killed in the Paris kosher supermarket attack during a funeral in Jerusalem on Jan. 13, 2015. Abir Sultan—EPA
The body of a victim of last week's terror attacks in France is carried ahead of burial at a cemetery in Jerusalem on Jan. 13, 2015. Menahem Kahana—AFP/Getty Images
Mourners react during the funeral of four Jews, who were killed in last week's attack on a kosher supermarket in Paris, while attending the service in Jerusalem on Jan. 13, 2015. Jack Guez—AFP/Getty Images
An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man walks in a cemetery during the funeral of four French Jewish victims of the attack last week on a kosher grocery store in Paris, in Jerusalem, Jan. 13, 2015. Sebastian Scheiner—AP

He broke it down in everyday terms, something that is coming to be known as classic Francis teaching style. “If [a close friend] says a swear word against my mother, he’s going to get a punch in the nose,” he explained. “One cannot provoke, one cannot insult other people’s faith, one cannot make fun of faith.”

His words come as he leaves Sri Lanka, on a trip that focused on interreligious harmony and inclusion. The Pope made an impromptu visit to a Buddhist temple, home of the Buddhist monk Banagala Upatissa, and he paused to listen and meditate as the monk offered a prayer. That move, along with his comments on the plane, again show his interest in interfaith engagement.

Twelve people were killed last week at the Charlie Hebdo headquarters in Paris. The satirical magazine was known for its controversial cartoons featuring the Prophet Muhammad.

TIME’s new cover, “After Paris: Lessons From the Attacks” is out today.

Read next: Charlie Hebdo Is Giving Us a Lesson in Humanity

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

Outbrain

More from TIME