Pope Francis has said there are limits to freedom of expression, especially when it insults or ridicules someone's faith.
Speaking about the Paris attacks while en route to the Philippines, the Pope, pictured, condemned any killing in God's name, but also insisted that other people's religion could not be insulted or mocked.
The 78-year-old pontiff said "each religion has its dignity" and "there are limits". "You cannot provoke, you cannot insult other people's faith, you cannot mock it," he said. "Freedom of speech is a right and a duty that must be displayed without offending." He defended freedom of expression as not only a fundamental human right but a duty to speak one's mind for the sake of the common good, but he said there were limits.
By way of example, he referred to Alberto Gasparri, who organises papal trips and was standing by his side. He said: "If my good friend Dr Gasparri says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch. It's normal. It's normal." Pope Francis was speaking to reporters aboard a plane from Sri Lanka to the Philippines. Meanwhile, authorities in the Philippines have appealed to the huge crowds expected to turn out to see Pope Francis not to turn "a moving target into a stationary one" by blocking his Popemobile, as the South American pontiff arrived in Manila for a five-day visit. There is acute concern for Pope Francis's safety during his first visit to the South-east Asian country, where he is expected to be mobbed by millions of devout Catholics.
President Benigno Aquino pleaded with Filipinos not to block the papal convoy by attempting to reach out to the Argentinian pontiff or try to take "selfie" pictures, saying that to do so would turn a moving target into a much more vulnerable stationary one. "If someone blocks the convoy by trying to get near the Holy Father and the convoy stops, what was a moving target becomes a stationary target," he said earlier this week, before the Pope's arrival.
The president said that the huge crush of people expected for the 78-year-old Pope's various engagements in the Philippines could create panic or stampedes.
(© Daily Telegraph London)