So the Pope and some journalists walk into an airplane…...
I am sensing a pattern.
The Holy Father takes a trip. The Holy Father talks to journalists on the plane. The Holy Father is asked a question about a hot button issue. The Holy Father speaks off the cuff. The Press Office goes into spin cycle and the MSM has a conga line dance.
Pope Francis was asked, on the plane to the Philippines, by a French journalist about religious freedom and freedom of expression. The question was obviously about the massacre at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Francis replied that both are “fundamental human rights”. He stressed that killing in the name of God is an aberration.? But then… he said there were limits to that freedom of expression. He gave an example. He referred to Alberto Gasparri (who organizes the papal trips) standing nearby. The Pope said that were Gasparri to insult his mother, Gasparri should expect to get punched. Francis pretended to punch towards Gasparri, saying: “It’s normal. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.”
That sounds an awful lot like, “If you step over the line in insulting someone, you had better expect consequences.” Which in turn sounds like, “What did Charlie Hebdo expect?”
NOW… let’s be clear. No one but the stupidest person on the planet would think that the Pope believes that the Muslim wackos who killed the Charlie Hebdo people were justified.
On the other hand… it sure sounds like the Pope said…. something. I don’t quite know what, at this point. I am not sure anyone else does either.
That said, one of the people working with the Press Office sent an email blast out with a Press Office clarification, which included…
The Pope’s expression is in no way intended to be interpreted as a justification for the violence and terror that took place in Paris last week. The Pope’s words about Dr. Gasbarri were spoken colloquially and in a friendly, intimate matter among colleagues and friends on the journey. His words mean that there are limits to humor and satire particularly in the ways that we speak about matters of faith and belief. Pope Francis’ response might be similar to something each of us has felt when those dearest to us are insulted or harmed. The Pope’s free style of speech, especially in situations like the press conference must be taken a face value and not distorted or manipulated. The Pope has spoken out clearly against the terror and violence that occurred in Paris and in other parts of the world. Violence begets violence. Pope Francis has not advocated violence with his words on the flight.
Okay. But at this point one has to ask quietly, “Holy Father, are you sure it’s a good idea to give press conferences?”
As an aside, I saw Fox News’ Meagyn Kelly go after The Catholic Leagues Bill Donohue for his observation that was not entirely unlike what the Pope offered colloquially. HERE and HERE