Pope Francis Opines on Charlie Hebdo cartoons
Pope Francis, who is in Asia, opined on Charlie Hebdo cartoons.Reuters

In the context of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons on Prophet Muhammed that saw a violent attack on its offices leaving 12 people dead, Pope Francis has said that freedom of expression tends to invite backlash if it makes fun of, or offends someone's faith.

"You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others," he said during an interaction with accompanying journalists en route to Philippines from Sri Lanka, as part of his Asia tour.

While kiilling in the name of God is an "aberration", freedom of expression should be exercised with restraint, said the pointiff, adding that both freedom of expression and freedom of religion were fundamental rights.

To drive home his point, he said if "his good friend Dr Gasparri" (Dr Alberto Gasparri, who organises the papal trips and was with him on the plane), were to abuse his mother, he (Gasparri) can "expect a punch...it is normal."

Regarding his own safety while propagating the message of "mercy and compassion" in Philippines, he said that he was more concerned about the faithful, before adding, "I am worried, but you know I have a defect: a good dose of carelessness. I'm careless about these things".

However, if any mishap were to occur, he would prefer it to be painless, "because I'm not very courageous when it comes to pain. I'm very timid."

Radio Vatican broadcast and published his comments about the Paris terror attacks and his views on freedom of expression and religion.

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