Perhaps Pope Francis has found the limit to what he can talk about.
He has shown that being the Supreme Leader of a major religious group is not truly prepared to speak about anything.
The Pope can certainly opine about anything he wants, but he needs to understand that one thing is giving an opinion and another one very different is to do so supporting your position with facts.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, whose message and expressiveness often ranks him above many public figures within the religious community, issued a strange statement yesterday referring to the attacks in Paris.
While he was flying between Sri Lanka and the Philippines, the Pope said something that was rather strange for the content of his statement as it was strange by the way in which he said it.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio said that people have the right to free speech, but that such a right has limits.
He followed his statement with another one that probably made more sense to his followers: “Killing in the name of God is an aberration“, as he referred to the alleged justification that the so-called jihadists gave to attack a satirical magazine in Paris.
“You can not provoke,” said the Pope, “you can not insult the faith of others. One can not mock the faith. You can not”. According to Pope Francis, freedom of expression is limited by what other people think is tolerable, as opposed to being unlimited with personal responsibility as the only variable.
Apparently, Pope Francis had spoken earlier on Thursday about freedom of religion being a “human right”, but it does not seem that he considers freedom of expression an equal of freedom of religion. He also does not seem to consider freedom from religion a human right, either.
A French reporter asked: “This Thursday morning you spoke during the Mass of religious freedom as a fundamental human right. But with respect to different religions, how far you can get in free speech, which is also a fundamental human right?. “
The question was clearly referring to the attacks occurred in France, and the Pope understood it as such. He responded: “I think both are fundamental human rights, both religious freedom and freedom of expression. “
With his statement, Pope Francis contradicted himself again. He says he believes something after having questioned its validity. He says freedom of expression is a human right, but he also thinks it has limits.
A question he should respond with is, what are those limits and who should impose the limits? Who should say what is tolerable and what is not?
And, after repeating that “everyone has the right to practice one’s religion” and that “killing in the name of God is an aberration,” the Pope added.
“As for freedom of expression: each person not only has freedom, but the obligation to speak his mind to support the common good … but not to offend, because it is true that you cannot react with violence, but if Dr. Gasbarri, a Vatican aide, says rude things about my mom, he can expect a punch.
With his statement, the Pope demonstrates that he supports the idea that freedom of expression can only be limitless when it is convenient for whatever for “the common good”. He needs to clarify what he means with “the common good”.
The Pope has already clarified that he is intolerant to people’s opinions if those opinions appear to be insults in someone’s mind and that he would be ready to use violence to respond.
This position is not new. The Pope has previously approved the use of force against alleged jihadists in Syria and Iraq and has also called for the imposition of carbon taxes as a solution to global warming and he has been working hard to unify all world religions. How does that work for freedom of religion?
You can not provoke, you can not insult the faith of others. There are many people who mock the religion of others.
“I gave this example of my mom to say that there are limits to freedom of expression,” said the Pope.
The Pope is being bold about what he thinks should be limits to freedom of expression. These kind of limits usually come from autocrats, technocrats and people in government who wish to silence political opposition.
In the case of the Pope, it seems that the attack on a magazine has served to illustrate his will to silence religious opposition. He is doing so as subtly as he can, using the same rhetoric used by politicians who want to take constitutional freedoms away in exchange for security.
The public must know that it is necessary to pay attention when leaders of all kinds support violence and the use of force, as Jorge Mario Bergoglio has done, as tools to deal with what the Pope sees as abuses in the use of human rights.
People either have freedom of expression or not. The public either has freedom of religion or not. The moment leaders begin to give excuses to impose limits on human rights and constitutional freedoms, is the time to raise awareness and to finds out exactly what these leaders want as the ultimate outcome.
Luis Miranda is an award-winning journalist and the founder and editor-in-chief at The Real Agenda News. His career spans over 18 years and almost every form of news media. His articles include subjects such as environmentalism, Agenda 21, climate change, geopolitics, globalisation, health, vaccines, food safety, corporate control of governments, immigration and banking cartels, among others. Luis has worked as a news reporter, on-air personality for Live and Live-to-tape news programs. He has also worked as a script writer, producer and co-producer on broadcast news.