Menu
News

Pope Francis: Your free speech might get you punched

Pope Francis says free speech and provocation will draw a reaction, following the Charlie Hebdo attacks
Pope Francis says free speech and provocation will draw a reaction, following the Charlie Hebdo attacks

POPE Francis has said there are limits to the freedom of expression - and that anyone who swears at his mother deserves a punch.

Francis spoke about the Paris attacks while on his way to the Philippines, where around 1,500 Muslims protested yesterday against the depictions of the Prophet in the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo.

He said that freedom of speech and expression are fundamental human rights however he added that he believes there should be limits to offending and ridiculing the faiths and beliefs of others.

By way of example, he referred to Alberto Gasparri, who organises his trips and was standing by his side on board the papal plane.

"If my good friend Dr Gasparri says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch," Francis said while pretending to throw a punch in his direction.

He added: "It's normal. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others."

People take part in a vigil in Trafalgar Square, London, following the deadly terror attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris
People take part in a vigil in Trafalgar Square, London, following the deadly terror attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris

Many people around the world have defended the right of Charlie Hebdo to publish inflammatory cartoons of the Prophet Mohamed in the wake of the massacre at its Paris offices and the following attack on a kosher supermarket, in which three gunmen killed 17 people in total.

Protesters in Philippines, burn poster with face of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu But recently the Vatican and four prominent French imams issued a joint declaration that denounced the attacks but also urged the media to treat religions with respect.

Francis, who has urged Muslim leaders in particular to speak out against Islamic extremism, went a step further when asked by a French journalist about whether there were limits when freedom of expression meets freedom of religion.

Francis insisted that it was an "aberration" to kill in the name of God and said religion can never be used to justify violence.

But he said there was a limit to free speech when it concerned offending someone's religious beliefs.

In the wake of the Paris attacks, the Vatican has sought to downplay reports that it is a potential target for Islamic extremists, saying it is being vigilant but has received no specific threat.

Francis said he was concerned primarily for the faithful, and said he had spoken to Vatican security officials who are taking "prudent and secure measures."
 

 

Topics:  catholic charlie hebdo pope francis vatican


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Region faces wild wind

DESTROYED: Half of the roof of the Moranbah home was ripped off from the 104km/h wind.

Moranbah residents say weather is worse than the cyclone.

Heroic rescue saves life

CLOSE CALL: Leslie Cruthers and Buddha at the spot the playful pup fell into the Nogoa River.

Kayakers rush to save dog walker clinging to riverbank.

National super star at age 13

Competing in Rotorua, New Zealand earlier this year.

Dingo local takes on international motocross competition.

Local Partners