Pope Francis says he wasn't justifying violence when he said a friend who had cursed his mother could "expect a punch" in return. Rather, he says he was only expressing a very human response to a provocation, and that greater prudence would have avoided such offense.

Francis clarified his comments about the limits of freedom of speech made last week in response to the terrorist attack against the French magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Speaking to reporters Monday en route home from the Philippines, Francis said: "In theory we can say a violent reaction to an offense or provocation isn't a good thing ... In theory we can say that we have the freedom to express ourselves. But we are human. And there is prudence, which is a virtue of human coexistence."