The Pope is speaking generally of religions here, but clearly he is only talking about one religion, and not his own. For those who insult the Pope’s religion, and there are many, have no reason to “expect a punch” from believers, and the Pope must be aware of that. Moreover, in these remarks he flatly contradicts himself. He says: “Everyone has not only the freedom and the right but the obligation to say what he thinks for the common good … we have the right to have this freedom openly without offending.” “Without offending”? So the freedom, right and obligation to say what one thinks for the common good ends wherever someone else takes offense? But what if the offense is unreasonable or unwarranted? Is the fact that some people get offended to the point of murderous rage over a handful of cartoons really sufficient reason to curtail the freedom, right and obligation of others to say what they think for the common good? Then any tyrant can silence his critics by claiming that he is offended, and we will be ruled over, and indeed tyrannized, by the perpetually offended. And that is pretty much the situation we are heading toward these days.
“After Paris attacks, Pope speaks out against insulting religions,” by Philip Pullella, Reuters, January 15, 2015:
(Reuters) – Pope Francis, speaking of last week’s deadly attacks by Islamist militants in Paris, has defended freedom of expression, but said it was wrong to provoke others by insulting their religion and that one could “expect” a reaction to such abuse.
“You can’t provoke, you can’t insult the faith of others, you can’t make fun of faith,” he told reporters on Thursday, aboard a plane taking him from Sri Lanka to the Philippines to start the second leg off his Asian tour.
Francis, who has condemned the Paris attacks, was asked about the relationship between freedom of religion and freedom of expression.
“I think both freedom of religion and freedom of expression are both fundamental human rights,” he said, adding that he was talking specifically about the Paris killings.
“Everyone has not only the freedom and the right but the obligation to say what he thinks for the common good … we have the right to have this freedom openly without offending,” he said.
To illustrate his point, he turned to an aide and said: “It is true that you must not react violently, but although we are good friends if (he) says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch, it’s normal.
“You can’t make a toy out of the religions of others,” he added. “These people provoke and then (something can happen). In freedom of expression there are limits.”
Seventeen people, including journalists and police, were killed in three days of violence that began with a shooting attack on the political weekly Charlie Hebdo, known for its satirical attacks on Islam and other religions.
Referring to past religious wars, such as the Crusades sanctioned by the Catholic Church against Islam, the Pope said:
“Let’s consider our own history. How many wars of religion have we had? Even we were sinners but you can’t kill in the name of God. That is an aberration.”…