On January 15, in the wake of the Islamist attacks on the French Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine, the Pope came out and had the following to say about the violent attacks1
“You cannot provoke,” Pope Francis said on Thursday. “You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.”
Though he defended the principle of free expression and paid lip service to the notion that violence is always wrong, he warned “you can’t make a toy out of the religions of others.”
“To kill in the name of God is an aberration,” Francis said. However, he added that it was natural for those who have been insulted to lash out violently.
“In freedom of expression, there are limits, like in regard to my mom,” Francis continued. “If he says a swear word against my mother, he’s going to get a punch in the nose. That’s normal.”2
I wonder if the Pope really understands the difference between children and adults? Children get offended at many things and never allow an offense to pass. Adults, on the other hand, can be insulted and overlook the offensive statement, understanding that words spoken or written reflect far more on the one speaking or writing, than on what is spoken of, or written about. Apparently Pope Francis does not understand that distinction at all.
Perhaps that is because the Pope shares far more with the immature persons in the Muslim world than he does with any sort of maturity level sought for in rational western culture. At least at one time in western culture, striving to be as mature and understanding as possible was a goal.
It certainly is a desired for goal from a Scriptural point of view. In the Scripture we are admonished continually to grow and be mature and let nothing offend us. We are continually encouraged and exhorted to not be children.
But, there again, being a Catholic, the chances of the Pope actually reading the Scripture to receive that exhortation are slim to none. To defend childish behavior as normal, certainly indicates he didn’t.
Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. (Psalm 119:165)