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Words can kill: Murder and insults are both rooted in hatred, says Pope

Pope Francis

Pope Francis: “To speak badly of someone else is to kill because it’s rooted in the same hatred.”
Photo: CNS/Paul Haring

OVERCOMING conflict requires stopping insults, letting go of hatred and reaching out to enemies, Pope Francis said.

Loving one’s neighbour wasn’t easy, he said, and Jesus showed it required realism, empathy and a spirit of fraternity.

During his early-morning Mass on June 12 in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where he lives, the Pope focused his homily on the day’s Gospel reading from St Matthew (5:20-26), in which Jesus explains the dehumanising effects and consequences of hatred.

Overcoming conflict required three things, the Pope said, the first being that opponents shared a “healthy realism” when they were unable “to work things out and find a solution”.

“At least come to an agreement,” the Pope said, according to a report by Vatican Radio. Even if it was not the ideal solution, an agreement “is a good thing. It’s realism,” he said.

“At least there is peace – a peace that’s very temporary, but the peace of an accord,” he said. “That way, we stop the hatred, the battle between us.”

The second thing needed, Jesus explains, is to realise the serious harm caused by insults.

“To speak badly of someone else is to kill because it’s rooted in the same hatred,” the Pope said. “Gossip, calumny, defamation” were other forms of murder as “the insult stems from the same root of the crime, it’s the same. Hatred.”

“If you don’t hate (then) you will not kill your enemy, your brother, you won’t insult him either,” the Pope said.

The third thing needed to overcome conflict, he said, was understanding how everyone was part of the same human family.

“If you, if we, are not supposed to kill our brother it’s because he is a brother, that is, we have the same Father,” he said.

“I can’t go to the Father if I have not made peace with my brother” and that peace must be made “at least with an agreement”.

“This program isn’t easy, is it? But it is the path Jesus indicates for going forward. Let us ask him for the grace of being able to go forward in peace among us, whether with agreements, but always by being consistent” with the truth and having a sense of belonging to the same human family, he said.

CNS

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