In unholy remarks, the Pope appeared to offer rationale to the Charlie Hebdo massacre, citing religious sensitivities as the reason.
On a flight to the Philippines on Thursday, the pope related to the attack and discussed freedom of speech versus offensive material.
“If my good friend Dr. Gasbarri [one of the Pope’s aids] says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch,” the pope quipped, proceeding to throw a mock jab at him.
“It’s normal. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others,” the Pope clarified, seemingly offering justification for the Charlie Hebdo terror attack.
While conceding that the murder was an “aberration,” he explained: “There are so many people who speak badly about religions or other religions, who make fun of them, who make a game out of the religions of others. They are provocateurs. And what happens to them is what would happen to Dr. Gasbarri if he says a curse word against my mother. There is a limit,” the Pope asserted.
The Pope came under heavy attack for his controversial words.
“Leaving aside whether the Pope is ignoring Jesus’s advice to turn the other cheek, the comparison between satirizing religion and insulting one’s mom is ludicrous. The cartoons of Charlie Hebdo and other mockery of religion (the magazine has made fun of all faiths, including Catholicism) are meant not to insult religious people or designed only to give offense, but to bring attention to the harmful effects of faith. The magazine, for instance, often called out the Vatican for mishandling the epidemic of child rape by priests,” University of Chicago Prof. Jerry Coyne wrote in the New Republic.
“The price of coddling tender minds offended by disagreement is the dissolution of democracy. For free speech, which includes the right to mock or excoriate views we find offensive, is the arsenal of democracy, and satire one of its most effective weapons. That weapon can sometimes backfire, as we discovered last week. But capitulation to ‘hurt feelings’ will in the end erode the very rights that make the West such a magnet for immigrants,” Coyne stated.
The Vatican’s press office issued a statement on Friday, saying that “Pope Francis has not advocated violence with his words on the flight,” and that the Catholic leader had “spoken colloquially and in a friendly, intimate manner among colleagues and friends on the journey.”
Regarding the Catholic Church, however, the Islamic State (IS or ISIS) terror organization stated in November:
“We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses and enslave your women, by the permission of Allah, the Exalted. This is His promise to us; He is glorified and He does not fail in His promise. If we do not reach that time, then our children and grandchildren will reach it, and they will sell your sons as slaves at the slave market.”