MANILA, Philippines – Having blasted a self-centered Catholic Church, Pope Francis on Wednesday, May 22, criticized “intolerant” believers who think, “If he is not one of us, he cannot do good.”
The Pope said all human beings, whom God created, “have this commandment at heart: do good and do not do evil.” He stressed this applies to “all of us.”
“'But Father, this is not Catholic! He cannot do good.' Yes, he can. He must. Not can: must! Because he has this commandment within him,” Francis said in Wednesday's homily at the Domus Santae Martae, his modest papal residence.
The Pope, who has consistently urged the Church to “come out of herself,” said intolerance will do the Church no good.
“Instead, this 'closing off' that imagines that those outside, everyone, cannot do good is a wall that leads to war and also to what some people throughout history have conceived of: killing in the name of God. And that, simply, is blasphemy. To say that you can kill in the name of God is blasphemy.”
Despite differences between believers and non-believers, he said their common denominator is doing good. He said the commandment to uphold goodness is a “beautiful path towards peace.”
“If we, each doing our own part, if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter: we need that so much. We must meet one another doing good,” Francis said.
He continued, with an atheist's possible response in mind: “'But I don't believe, Father, I am an atheist!' But do good: we will meet one another there.”
The first Latin American and Jesuit pontiff, Francis leads the Catholic Church at a time of rising radicalism and intolerance among believers of various faiths.
In the Philippines, intolerance is also prevalent among Catholics, particularly in debates over policy. The reproductive health law, for instance, has pit anti-RH Catholics against those who support the measure, resulting in word wars that invoked the name of God. – Rappler.com
Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.