Catholics object to mockery but without resort to barbarism

Catholics object to mockery of their religion, such as encasing a statue of the Virgin Mary in a condom, but show no signs of resorting to barbarism, said Tim Pankhurst, former editor of the Dominion Post.

“The leader of the world’s Roman Catholics makes his point about inequality and injustice by washing poor people’s feet,” he said.

He was speaking at the Canon Media awards last Friday.

Pankhurst was one of the judges in the category of Cartoonist of the year.

He said it is not wise to be deliberately offensive. “Charlie Hebdo almost invited retaliation, but fear of disturbing the sensibilities of Muslims needs to be balanced against upholding a free press.”

“Freedom of speech is a fundamental value that has to be defended. It goes hand in hand with tolerance and fairness and decency,” said Pankhurst.

“Islam in its purest form is a peaceful religion that has contributed much to civilisation.”

“We could all do more to recognise that and support and befriend Muslims in our community.”

“But if Islam is being perverted and terrible deeds committed in its name, a cartoon Mohammed waving a sword can be a devastating statement, a far more arresting condemnation than any amount of political or editorial huffing.”

“If this is the century of jihad, and it is looking depressingly that way, then we must square up to that, just as we did with totalitarianism.”

Aboard the papal plane, Jan 15, 2015 during an in-flight press conference Pope Francis spoke on the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack, saying that freedom of expression has limits but no one has the right to kill in the name of God.

“Killing in the name of God is an aberration against God. I think this is the main thing with freedom of religion.”

“You can practice with freedom but without imposing or killing.”

He said that every person has not just the freedom or right, but also an obligation “to say what he thinks” to build the common good.

“We have the obligation to freely have this liberty, but without offending.”

“You cannot offend or make war, kill in the name of your religion, that is in the name of God,” the Pope told journalists.

“But if the freedom of expression is used to offend, he said, one can expect a reaction.”


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