BY Ian Dunn | January 15 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

Pope Francis speaks with reporter aboard flight to Manila, Philippines

‘You cannot kill in the name of God’

In the wake of the Paris terror attacks, Pope Francis says freedom of expression has a limit during a press conference on his flight from Sri Lanka to the Philippines this morning

Pope Francis believes freedom of expression has should have limits but that no one has the right to kill in the name of God. During his flight from Sri Lanka to the Philippines this morning, the Holy Father was asked by a French journalist if he saw freedom of expression as a fundamental human right.

“You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith,” Pope Francis said. If you do, he added, you ‘can expect a punch.’

The Pope was making specific reference to the attack by Muslim extremists on the satirical headquarters of French newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which killed 12 people. He added that, while the Paris attack ‘astonishes us,’ throughout history atrocities like the Catholic-led massacre ‘St Bartholomew’s night’ incident in France have also come from those who profess religious beliefs.

“Also we were sinners in this,” he added. “But you cannot kill in the name of God, This is an aberration. Killing in the name of God is an aberration against God. I think this is the main thing with freedom of religion. You can practice with freedom but without imposing or killing.”

The Pope said that every person has not just the freedom or right, but also an obligation ‘to say what he thinks’ to build the common good. “We have the obligation to freely have this liberty, but without offending,” he said.

During the airborne press conference, the Pope called both freedom of religion and expression ‘fundamental human rights,’ but said there are limits to the freedoms. “You cannot offend or make war, kill in the name of your religion, that is in the name of God,” the Pope told journalists on the flight.

If the freedom of expression is used to offend, however, he said, the offender can expect a reaction. He used the example of Dr Alberto Gasbarri, the organiser of Papal trips, who was standing beside him during the in-flight press conference.

“It’s true that you cannot react violently,” he said. ” But, if Dr Gasbarri, my great friend, says something against my mother, he can expect a punch. It’s normal.”

Those who ‘make a plaything out of the religion of others… are provoking,’ he said. “And, what can happen is what I said about Dr Gasbarri if he says something about my mother,” he added. “There’s a limit.”

“Every religion has dignity, every religion that respects human life and the human person and I cannot make fun of it,” he added. “And this is a limit.”

On the subject of freedom of religion, he said: “You cannot hide the truth. Everyone has the right to practice their religion, their own religion without offending, freely. And that’s what we do, what we all want to do.”




Pics: (Above) Pope Francis speaks with Caroline Pigozzi of Paris Match magazine during his flight to Manila, Philippines, this morning. (Below) The Pope waves as he boards a plane for his trip to Sri Lanka and Philippines earlier this week



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