Pope Francis Comments on the Charlie Hebdo Massacre

| by Kendal Mitchell
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Pope Francis gave mixed comments regarding the attacks against the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo over the past week.

While speaking in defense of free speech, Francis said he acknowledges that some limitations of speech exist in order to keep people safe.

“You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others,” Francis said on Thursday while flying to the Philippines.

Last week, a group of Islamic extremists attacked Charlie Hebdo’s French offices because the magazine depicts allegedly offensive images of the Prophet Mohammed. Attacks on a Jewish supermarket that killed 17 people in France soon followed the Charlie Hebdo shootings.

Islamic tradition teaches that it is a sin to recreate any image of the Prophet, regardless of intent.

The pope added he does not think any person or group can justify violent attacks on behalf of “God’s will.” However, he said some reaction against the magazine could be expected.

Francis, along with four French Muslim leaders, presented a joint statement to denouncing the attacks and asking the media to treat all religions respectfully.

In the statement, the religious leaders emphasized the importance of all people, regardless of religious background, to engage in productive and inclusive debate.

On Thursday, Francis told a French reporter there are limits to freedom of expression when it collides with freedom of religion.

"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," Francis said.  

During a Mass dedicated to the memory of those murdered at the Charlie Hebdo offices, Francis spoke against the human cruelty in which some people are capable.

“We also (pray) for those who are cruel so that the Lord may change their heart,” Francis said during the Mass.

He also sent a tweet from his Twitter handle, @Pontifex saying, #PrayersforParis. 

Sources: Huffington Post

Photo Credit: Huffington Post