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Pope Francis: the Sermon on the Mount calls us to a ‘higher justice’

February 13, 2017

Reflecting on the day’s Gospel at Mass (Mt. 5:17-37), Pope Francis said during his February 12 Angelus address that Christ calls us to a “higher justice” beyond “formalism” in the observance of the commandments.

“Jesus examines three aspects, three commandments: homicide, adultery and swearing,” the Pope said to those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

Discussing the commandment “you shall not kill,” the Pope said:

[Christ] affirms that it is violated not only by effective homicide, but also by behavior that offends the dignity of the human person, including insulting words. These certainly do not have the same gravity and culpability, such as killing, but they are in the same line, because they are its premises and reveal the same ill-will. Jesus invites us not to establish a graded list of offenses, but to consider all of them harmful, inasmuch as moved by the intent to do evil to one’s neighbor.

Similarly, “one who looks at a woman who is not one’s own with a spirit of possession is an adulterer in his heart; he has begun the path to adultery.” With regard to swearing, Christ calls us to sincerity and mutual trust, “so that we can be held to be sincere without taking recourse to higher interventions to be believed.”


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  • Posted by: Bveritas2322 - Feb. 13, 2017 6:07 PM ET USA

    Well why wouldn't those seeking to be confirmed in their adultery by receiving the sacraments while continuing to live in adultery not be on the path to adultery?