VATICAN CITY (CNS) — A “my way or the highway” attitude is not Catholic — it’s heretical, Pope Francis said.
“Jesus always walks with us, he gives us the ideal, he accompanies us toward the ideal, he frees us from this cage of rigidity of the law,” the pope said June 9 during a morning Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae.
Jesus teaches “a healthy realism,” he said, one that endorses a peaceful resolution over a war of entrenched, opposing interests.
The pope’s homily focused on the day’s Gospel reading (Mt 5:20-26) in which Jesus tells his disciples to settle with their opponents and be reconciled with their brothers because they will be judged for harboring anger and lobbing insults.
“We are so used to (certain) adjectives and we have a very creative vocabulary for insulting others,” the pope said, according to Vatican Radio. Swear words, he said, are often spoken “with much charity, but we say them to others.”
Insulting others is “killing, because it is giving a slap to their soul” and dignity, he said.
In the reading, Jesus told his disciples that “unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
Holiness entails setting out and aiming high, liberating oneself from the “rigidity of laws and also from (forms of) idealism that aren’t good for us,” the pope said.
Jesus urges people to settle their disputes because he “knows us well” and “knows our nature,” he said.
“Jesus also teaches us a healthy realism” because many times people are unable to “reach perfection,” but at least they can settle their differences.
The Catholic Church also embodies this “healthy realism,” he said, because it “never teaches ‘either this or that.’ That is not Catholic. The church says, ‘This and this.'”
“‘This or nothing’ is not Catholic. That is heretical,” he said.
Aim for the ideal and perfection, he said, but never insult others, always love and reconcile with them, he said. “If there is a problem, at least come to an agreement so that a war doesn’t erupt.”
The pope also said that hypocrites who do the opposite of what they preach are a “scandal, which harms the people.”
Do not praise God with a mouth that insults others, the pope said.