I'm sure by now we've all heard that in Paris last week, Islamic terrorists massacred a large part of the staff of Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical magazine for mocking the Islamic faith. To be accurate, many of their cartoons are offensive, and yes, the Catholic faith has been the target of their work that is often pornographic.
What troubles me (besides the obvious vicious murders) is that some faithful Catholics are stating that they are ambivalent regarding the murders precisely because of Hebdo's Catholic-bashing. Let me state that I believe two issues are being conflated, with gross disservice being done to truth.
The two issues being inappropriately intertwined are 1) the indecent output of the magazine and 2) the brutal murders of the magazine employees. Number 1 does not have anything to do with number 2, and certainly does not justify murder in the slightest. When we mention the two in the same breath, we can give the impression that we condone the murders out of "offended religious sensibilities" or at least we think the guilt of the murders is mitigated by "hurt religious sensibilities".
Some attitudes of faithful Catholics are evidenced in a post by A Blog For Dallas Area Catholics, with whom I usually agree. Unfortunately he seems to put the Charlie Hebdo staff on the same moral par as their jihadists. Later in the article "Tantem Bloggo" opines that "our modern culture likes to pretend that freedom of speech is a sacred right" and that "error has no rights". Well, error may have no rights, but erroneous people do, and while "freedom of speech being a "sacred right" may well be debatable, I'd hope he can agree that freedom of speech is a civil right. Else, how can he and I be confident that we can both write our blogs without governmental molestation?
I've seen other Catholic sites calling into question "unfettered" freedom of speech. If I can find them again, I'll post links. Anyway, if they call into question such speech, how do they suggest such speech be controlled? Who would they suggest should do such controlling? Do they understand precisely why such a cure might be far worse than the disease?
Pope Francis regrettably falls into that error. On his way from Sri Lanka to the Philippines, the pope gave another in-flight interview. I really dread these, and especially this one as it is a "double-header", but the the second part will be its own post. I link to the NBC article that has the text and video of the interview. He said "one cannot insult other people's faith" and that if a friend "utters a curse word against my mother, then a punch awaits him". I find that crack from the Vicar of Christ utterly lamentable and disgraceful to Our Lord.
Of course the Vatican Press Office flew right into "damage control mode" (they get a lot of practice these days), saying the pope was "speaking in a friendly intimate manner among colleagues and friends". Odd! When I do that, we are not shoving microphones and cameras into each others' faces! I could pick this thing apart in a million pieces but I'd veer too far from my main points.
Do we see here how the pope condones the murderous impulses, if not acts, of the jihadists? The White House contradicted the pope here, saying "no act of public expression justifies violence". Never in ten million years did I think there would come a day when I would have to side with the White House - particularly this White House - over the Vatican. I suppose stranger things have happend, but as the saying goes, "the broken clock is correct at least twice a day".
The pope also stated that "every religion has its dignity". Well, no. Islam. because it is a murderous