Pope Francis says there are limits to freedom of expression
(Vatican Radio) Speaking about the Paris terror attacks, Pope Francis said on Thursday that there are limits to freedom of expression, especially when it insults or ridicules someone’s faith. His comments came during a wide-ranging press conference with journalists accompanying him on his flight from Sri Lanka to the Philippines to start the second and final leg of his journey to Asia.
During the press conference, Pope Francis was asked by a French journalist about the relationship between freedom of religion and freedom of expression. He replied saying that both are “fundamental human rights” and stressed that killing in the name of God “is an aberration.”. But he said there were limits to that freedom of expression. By way of example he referred to Alberto Gasparri who organizes the papal trips and was standing by his side on the plane. The Pope said if “his good friend Dr Gasparri” says a curse word against his mother, he can “expect a punch”, and at that point he gestured with a pretend punch towards him, saying: “It’s normal. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.”
Pope Francis also spoke about climate change, saying he doesn’t know if human activity “is the only cause” of this but added that it is “man who has slapped nature in the face.” Humans, he went on, have “exploited nature too much” and he referred to his forthcoming encyclical on ecology, saying he hopes the document will encourage negotiators at a climate change meeting in Paris to make “courageous decisions” to protect God’s creation.
During the press conference, the Pope also spoke about his priorities for his pastoral visit to the Philippines, saying the focus of his message will be the plight of the poor, those who suffered during the 2013 typhoon and those who “face so many injustices, social spiritual, existential.”