Twitter Backlash after Pope Steps in to Blasphemy Row about Charlie Hebdo
According to Sputbick News, the Vatican had to step into after the Pope caused a furore on Twitter by saying there are limits to freedom of speech when it comes to faith – effectively giving some backing to the Paris attacks last week which killed 17 people.
Asked by reporters about the first attack on the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo — in which 12 people died — the Pope said (video): "One cannot provoke, one cannot insult other people's faith, one cannot make fun of faith. There is a limit. Every religion has its dignity… in freedom of expression there are limits.
"You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others."
While joking with members of the press, he turned to his assistant Alberto Gasparri and said: "If my good friend Dr Gasparri says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch," Francis said, at which the Pope mockingly threw one in Gasparri's direction.
However, his comments — which came on the day hundreds of people queued up in British newsagents to buy copies of the first post-attack edition of the magazine — were quickly seized upon as giving some justification to the shootings, in which a total of 17 people, as well as the three terrorists were killed. The Twittersphere was alive.
New Orleans criminal defence attorney C.J. Murdoch said: "If the Pope is horribly wrong on economics and free speech, why does he have an authority on matters of faith?"