January 6, 2016

Vatican newspaper denounces ‘blasphemous’ Charlie Hebdo cover

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A man takes a copy of the latest edition of French weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo with the title "One year on, The assassin still on the run" displayed at a kiosk in Nice, France, January 6, 2016. France this week commemorates the victims of last year's Islamist militant attacks on satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket with eulogies, memorial plaques and another cartoon lampooning religion. Photo by Eric Gaillard, courtesy of Reuters.

A man takes a copy of the latest edition of French weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo with the title "One year on, The assassin still on the run" displayed at a kiosk in Nice, France, January 6, 2016. France this week commemorates the victims of last year's Islamist militant attacks on satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket with eulogies, memorial plaques and another cartoon lampooning religion. Photo by Eric Gaillard, courtesy of Reuters.

VATICAN CITY (RNS) The Vatican’s newspaper on Wednesday (Jan. 6) criticized French weekly Charlie Hebdo for manipulating faith in the magazine’s latest front page, which depicts a blood-soaked God armed with a Kalashnikov.

The controversial cover commemorates a year since the terrorist attack against Charlie Hebdo’s Paris headquarters, which left 12 people dead and led to a global debate on religious extremism and freedom of speech.

“One year later, the assassin is still on the run,” reads the black and white front page, with a cartoon depicting a violent God.

The Vatican turned to its daily newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, to blast Charlie Hebdo’s decision with an unsigned editorial titled “Manipulated faith.”


READ: Pope Francis on free speech: ‘You cannot insult the faith of others’


“The French weekly once again forgets what religious leaders of every affinity have been repeating for some time, to reject violence in the name of religion,” it said, describing the move as blasphemous.

“The choice of Charlie Hebdo shows the sad paradox of a world increasingly more careful of being ‘politically correct,’ to the point of being almost ridiculous … But that doesn’t want to recognize and respect the faith in God of every believer, whichever religion they practice,” L’Osservatore Romano added.

The latest issue of Charlie Hebdo stands in stark contrast to the edition published in the aftermath of the attack, featuring a crying Muhammad under a headline reading “All is forgiven.”


READ: Pope Francis: ‘I don’t know how to sing. I don’t even know how to speak well.’


Two gunmen stormed the magazine’s offices on Jan. 7, 2015, shooting staff in an attack that was later claimed by Yemen’s al-Qaida branch.

After that attack, Pope Francis said freedom of expression was a “fundamental human right” and stressed that killing in the name of God was an unacceptable “aberration.”

But he also took issue with Charlie Hebdo’s anti-religious stance.

“You can’t provoke, you can’t insult the faith of others, you can’t make fun of faith,” he told reporters during an Asian tour.

The Vatican later issued a statement that said the pope’s comments were not intended as a justification for the attacks.

(Rosie Scammell covers the Vatican for RNS)

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  • tanfouk

    Charlie got it exactly right! If there is a god, then that being must be held accountable for all the carnage in the name of religion. We certainly haven’t seen he/she/it take any action against violence!

  • “You can’t provoke, you can’t insult the faith of others, you can’t make fun of faith,” – Pope Francis

    This is just freedom-hating, inhumane nonsense.
    The first amendment insists people shall not be forbidden from speaking freely – it is a human right. It should be universal.

    Speech cannot simultaneously be free and invite a death warrant.
    And what irony coming from the Pope – His religion, like all others “provokes, insults and mocks” other faiths in ways Atheists couldn’t dream of! :

    “Execute those who would not have me for a king” – JESUS
    “Slay the infidels” – Allah
    “Kill the nonbelievers” – Yahweh

    Freedom of speech is the last hope for humanity. The Vatican is completely clueless. And dangerous, as usual.

  • And amazingly, the offices of Charlie Hebdo were *not* attacked by Catholic terrorists in retaliation. Go figure.

  • “not attacked by Catholic terrorists……Go figure.”

    Because it happened already in Rwanda in 1993.
    800,000 people were slaughtered by Catholics – many of whom were priests.*
    And unfortunately wherever devotional dogmatic cults are strong (including Pol Pot’s and Stalin’s) unbearable slaughter of innocents is likely.

    *Father Anatole Serromba killed 2000 innocent people by himself.

  • John

    For Atheist Max
    “Execute those who would not have me for a king” – JESUS

    Hello, Max !

    I think that execution will happen when Jesus comes as a King. Until then He wants us to help His needy brothers. Mathew 25: 31-46.

    I saw an article : ” Christianity Burden or Blessing to Mankind?” by Noel Hornor, about the good influence of our Saviour Jesus Christ in human history.

    http://www.ucg.org/the-good-news/
    christianity-burden-or-blessing-to-mankind

    It’s true, we who claim to be Christians, often do what is against His teaching.

    I’m sorry indeed for my doing against Him !

  • @John

    “we who claim to be Christians, often do what is against His teaching.
    I’m sorry indeed for my doing against Him !”

    So you are ‘sorry’ you didn’t execute sinners as Jesus instructed?

  • Doc Anthony

    Charlie Hebdo simply doesn’t know when to shut up already.

    But that’s okay. The Vatican paper will merely offer a verbal criticism of Charlie;s blasphemy, as it indeed just did so, and then the Vatican paper will turn its attention to other news items, as it should.

    And the other religions of the world? Charlie Hebdo will go ahead and continue openly insulting them and blaspheming them as well, apparently expecting that they, too, will limit their responses to mere printed words.

    But I remember that the rock band “REO Speedwagon” used to say, “You Get What You Play For.” Charlie Hebdo has already tragically proven that slogan to be true, just a few months ago.

    But apparently Charlie Hebdo is hankering to prove that same slogan to be true AGAIN, a second or even a third time. Ohhhh well.

  • John

    Hello, brother Max !
    “So you are ‘sorry’ you didn’t execute sinners as Jesus instructed?”

    No. I don’t have any intention to execute sinners. Neither did our Lord. He forgave sinners. He instructed us to forgive each other.

    I’m sorry I haven’t helped enough His needy, least brothers, as He instructs us !

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  • CityK

    Charlie Hebdo has ‘bottled it’, Why have a go at Christianity and not people of the faith from which they were attacked?? It was not Christian assassins who killed their staff or any of the other attacks in Paris. I agree ALL religions can cause problems but although every Muslim is NOT a terrorist it does appear MOST terrorists are Muslim!!!

  • @John:

    “He forgave sinners. He instructed us to forgive each other…”

    Just to clarify. Are you talking about this Jesus?

    “Hate your parents…hate your life or you are not worthy of me.” – JESUS (Luke 14:26)
    “I have come to bring fire…I am so constrained! I am impatient to bring not peace but ANGUISH!” – JESUS (Luke 12:49-51)
    “…gather those who do not abide in me. They are like withered branches…they shall be burned in the fire.” – JESUS (John 15:6)

  • Jeff A

    I guess no one at the Vatican has ever actually read the Bible, or the Quran.

  • Balderdash

    Charlie Hebdo’s commemorative issue reveals how incredibly stupid some people can be. Blaming God for what men do is as ridiculous as saying the Charlie Hebdo is the font of all good, knowledge and truth.

    It just goes to demonstrate the continuum of hatred, mockery, dehumanization and the violence that has historically – and in France particularly – followed it. Charlie Hebdo is as much the ‘bully’ with a pen, as a thug with a club.

  • John

    Hello, brother Max !

    “Hate your parents…your life…”. Luke 14:26.
    Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ teaches us to love even our ennemies(Mathew 5:43-48). In Luke 14:26 Jesus exposes a conception superior to an earthly one, a carnal one, a limited one. That superior conception doesn’t abolish “Honour your father and your mother…”, (Mathew 5:17).

    “Fire” in Luke 12 means “Holy Spirit”(Acts 2:3), The Giver of Life.
    “Anguish”, or even death. The Apostles received The Holy Spirit, went to preach and suffered martyrdom.

    In John 15:6 Jesus speaks to His disciples. Unless they remain in Him, they are like a branch that withers, that is loses the true Life, and is thrown into the fire.

    Have you seen Noel Hornor’s article ?

    I have seen a book written by a former atheist, Richard Wurmbrand, “In God’s Underground”. He suffered for 14 years in prison for his belief in our Lord Jesus Christ. Before his becoming a Christian he was a convinced atheist.

  • @John,

    “he was a convinced atheist…”

    But I’m not a convinced Atheist. So I don’t know what you are talking about. I don’t know any such atheists.
    I have already explained – I am always open to any evidence for a god.
    Nobody has shown me anything.

    I’m sorry he went to jail for his beliefs. Too bad he didn’t live in the USA where beliefs of all kinds are accepted.

  • @Balderdash,

    “Charlie Hebdo is as much the ‘bully’ with a pen, as a thug with a club….”

    If Pens and guns are equal as you say, why can’t the critics fight cartoons with cartoons of their own mocking Hebdo!

    instead of SHOOTING MACHINE GUNS IN A BLOODBATH OF GENOCIDAL SLAUGHTER!

    The truth is you don’t mean a word of what you say.
    The people who must be mocked the most are those who say you must not mock

    You make a shameful argument. You are against your own free speech!

  • Balderdash

    Your argument demonstrates the true freedom-hating core of religion. Religion deserves what it dishes out.

  • G Key

    I’ve yet to come across words which justify violence. I don’t believe such words exist.

    That said, I see no virtue or value in displaying images attacking others’ spiritual/existential beliefs.

    It seems to me the goals of displaying such imagery are twofold: protesting dogma, and soliciting support.

    Re the first, there’s a big difference between targeting actions, which affect others, and beliefs, which don’t. But the mocking images we see today — profaning religious icons past, present, and eternal — gleefully deny that distinction.

    Re the second, events show its achievement. But, again, there’s a big difference between gaining support for condemning actions, and gaining support for condemning beliefs.

    Instead of encouraging belief systems to change objectionable rules, these images only outrage the believers and indulge the hecklers.

    We live in a crowded theater. Expressing our “Fire!” at others’ beliefs may be rightful, but it’s neither righteous nor…

  • G Key

    …right. ?

  • @G Key,

    “We live in a crowded theater.”

    No we don’t. Civilization requires honest retort and rebuttals. Charlie Hebdo is the single most courageous manifestation of free speech in the world today.

    Want to fight ISIS? Then DON’T SURRENDER so d***n easy !

  • John

    Hello, brother Max !

    “- I am always open to any evidence for a god.
    Nobody has shown me anything.”

    “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” Romans 1:20.

    A pure heart is needed in order to see God.

    “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Mathew 5:8.

  • Richard Rush

    Balderdash,

    “Blaming God for what men do is as ridiculous as saying the Charlie Hebdo is the font of all good, knowledge and truth.”

    I would say, “blaming a god for what men do is far more ridiculous than saying that Charlie Hebdo is the font of all good, knowledge, and truth.” And, while I would NOT say that Charlie Hebdo is THE font of all good, knowledge and truth, I would say that they are a source for more honesty, good, knowledge, and truth than has ever come from religion.

    People whose beliefs are not supported by legitimate evidence have frequently resorted to supporting their beliefs by killing people who don’t agree with them. Let’s look at the numbers: How many people has Charlie Hebdo killed compared to the numbers killed by Christians, Muslims, and others?. . . zero compared to millions.

  • John

    For Atheist Max:

    Hello, brother Max !
    ” Civilization requires honest retort and rebuttals.”

    In 2014 Charlie Hebdo atheists, who are well paid, issued ” la véritable histoire du Petit Jésus”, ( 64 pages; 7 € ), where they mocked , by caricature and by text, our Lord Jesus Christ and His Mother. Jesus is caricatured with a nose of a pig. About The Virgin Mary they wrote she was raped by a debauched man in Bethlehem. These ideas were taken from Jewish books upheld by non-Christian Jews.
    But, “Be not tricked; God is not made sport of: for whatever seed a man puts in, that will he get back as grain.” ( Galatians 6:7)

    Over the year 2015, around 8 000 Jews left France for Israel.
    Many of Jews are atheist( about two thirds ).

    Charlie Hebdo atheist Jews lack common sense, good breeding. In 2016 they have already caricatured God as an Assassin who is running, still at large. But they pretend not to see the Jews running to Israel. They caused the Jews to run away…

  • Atheist Max – You ask for evidence of God? DNA is the evidence. You can deny it, but the fact remains that DNA is a language. Every geneticist calls it a “language”. Language comes from intelligence. You are probably not up on the science of DNA. You probably still think that there is such a thing as “junk DNA” (which used to be used as an evidence for Darwinian evolution). But that term is no longer used in the scientific community. It’s been debunked. They have now discovered that DNA is read forwards, backwards, embedded, encrypted, and in 3-D. More ways may be discovered. It is IMPOSSIBLE for encrypted DNA to evolve by random chance. To even think so takes more faith than anyone can imagine. To believe that DNA evolved by random chance is truly checking one’s brain at the door. As someone has said, “it takes more faith to be an atheist than a Christian . . . by far”.

  • Richard Rush

    Humans are obviously simple organisms compared to a god who must be infinitely more intelligent, skilled, and powerful to have created the universe. Here is an old question that people seem to spend little time contemplating: Where did God come from? A common answer is that God is eternal, and thus has always been there. And then they change the subject. I think all the answers I’ve heard are designed to avoid serious consideration of the question.

    galatianman,

    If you want to assert that God just suddenly appeared, then that is not nearly good enough for me. There is not a single shred of evidence for that (and Bible verses don’t count). So, if God didn’t just suddenly appear, he must have developed by some form of evolution.

    If you are unable to believe that life on earth could have developed via evolution, how can you possibly believe that an infinitely more intelligent, skilled, and powerful God just came into existence by poof!, or by a form of evolution?

  • Richard Rush

    galatianman,

    Humans are obviously simple organisms compared to a god who must be infinitely more intelligent, skilled, and powerful to have created the universe. Here is an old question that people seem to spend little time contemplating: Where did God come from? A common answer is that God is eternal, and thus has always been there. And then they change the subject. I think all the answers I’ve heard are designed to avoid serious consideration of the question.

    If you want to assert that God just suddenly appeared, then that is not nearly good enough for me. There is not a single shred of evidence for that (and Bible verses don’t count). So, if God didn’t just suddenly appear, he must have developed by some form of evolution.

    If you are unable to believe that life on earth could have developed via evolution, how can you possibly believe that an infinitely more intelligent, skilled, and powerful God just came into existence by poof!, or by a form of evolution?

  • samuel johnston

    Pope Francis on free speech: ‘You cannot insult the faith of others’
    When the Church had the power, it enforded this dictum, even to the extent of mass murder (Cathar campaign, witch burnings in the tens of thousands, etc.). Should it regain the power it will again. Talk is cheap. All this love and virtue claimed by Christanity is purely propaganda. The Church iis and has aleays been about about secular power; about Christ ruling on this earth in the form of his Church (the one in Rome, naturally).
    Protestantism was supposed to be a revolt against intermediaries (God acts directly with/on people). It has failed because it imposed the Bible and theology as intermediaries in place of the Church.
    This Pope may be better than the last, but he still clings to the organization’s historical goals, so nothing of substance.has really changed.
    Copyright 2016 Johnston

  • samuel johnston

    galatianman,
    You appear know next to nothing nothing about either evolution or DNA. I would be willing to bet that you have never read “On The Origin Of Species”, much less any technical descriptions of how DNA sends its little messages about the body to control processes.
    Try this: Count to 500, 000,000 (the amout of years Darwin guessed the evolution of life took. Next Count to 3.5 billion (the amount of time currently suggested by the leading expert opinion. See you in a few hundred years.

  • samuel johnston

    “Blaming God for what men do is as ridiculous as…”
    It’s not as ridiculous as claiming that God made us, and then gave us free will, so we could choose to burn in hell. I think that a defective product shoul be returned to the factory for repair or replacement, not punished for being defective.

  • samuel johnston

    @Doc,
    Sounds to me like you are suggesting a threat (… expecting that they, too, will limit their responses to mere printed words.) . Physical threat perhaps? It appears you too are a good Christian looking for a witch to burn.
    Silly me, just looking to thre U.S. Constitution for guidance.

  • Gabriel

    The pope is absolutely right. If someone offends your mother it only serves to provoke you to retaliate in some wat. It’s as natural as provoking bees by hitting their beehive with a stick. Free speech is never without consequence, especially if it is done to offend and to mock. One can disagree. And practically speaking, you have to be careful who you choose to offend. Mock someone like the pope or Mother Teresa and they will pray and forgive you; mock a mobster or a drug-cartel and they will most likely come after you with awful revenge in their hearts. The revenge may not be justified, but you’re not being very smart if you choose to offend them. As for the Church burning people at the stake centuries ago, that was usually done by the state as a punishment for a crime that ages past deemed worthy of the death penalty. Today the death penalty still exists in the United States for crimes that society deems worthy of the death penalty.

  • samuel johnston

    @ Gabriel,
    “As for the Church burning people at the stake centuries ago, that was usually done by the state as a punishment for a crime that ages past deemed worthy of the death penalty. ”
    Oh yes, the Church often used the offices of the State to cary out religious condemnations .( i.e Joan of Arc) much as Russia and China and Iran, do today.
    This integration of Church and state – in Christanity goes back to Constantine (325 C.E.) In many other societies, it has an even longer tradition. Happily the U.S Constitution was a major break with the tradition of having state religions – collecting taxes and having clerical courts to try clerical matters. Their decisions were binding on the state.
    When students are taught History by Catholic institutions, they are often presented with a viewpoint that always seems to justify the Church. Funny how that works.

  • G Key

    “No we don’t.”
    Yes we do; people wouldn’t be at each other’s throats otherwise. History’s deep-rutted paradigm is based on “zero-sum”, “Us vs. Them”, “It’s all mine”, & “Better’n you”. Personally, I dislike ruts.

    “Civilization requires honest retort and rebuttals.”
    Civilization also requires civility. Hostile rebuttals, however well-intentioned, tend to prioritize (and convey) hostility over rebuttal.

    “Want to fight ISIS? Then DON’T SURRENDER so d***n easy !”
    I’m sure you regret that non sequitur. As an atheist who respects others and their beliefs, I’ve chosen 3 principal guiding values: inequality-lessness, trespass-lessness, & cruelty-lessness. ISIS opposes all 3. “Surrender”? I advocate respect, not submission.

    In fact, if the Bible’s Armageddon should disprove my atheism during our lifetimes, you’ll find me defending any Respecters against all Trespassers, regardless of beliefs — and I sincerely hope you & I won’t find ourselves fighting…

  • G Key

    …each other. ?

    (I guess the “characters available” is closer to 965 than 1000.)

  • Richard Rush

    galatianman,

    Humans are obviously simple organisms compared to a god who must be infinitely more intelligent, skilled, and powerful to have created the universe. Here is an old question that people seem to spend little time contemplating: Where did God come from? A common answer is that God is eternal, and thus has always been there. And then they change the subject. I think all the answers I’ve heard are designed to avoid serious consideration of the question.

    If you want to assert that God just suddenly appeared, then that is not nearly good enough for me. There is not a single shred of evidence for that (and Bible verses don’t count). So, if God didn’t just suddenly appear, he must have developed by some form of evolution.

    If you are unable to believe that life on earth could have developed via evolution, how can you possibly believe that an infinitely more intelligent, skilled, and powerful God suddenly appeared from nowhere or through a form of evolution?

  • John

    Our Saviour Jesus Christ has been condemned to death by a religious decision, yet based on Jewish political, national intrests; that decision was carried out by the Roman State.

    Our Father in Heaven has turned The Sacrifice of His Son into a price of ransom for all nations, men, for me too. I have become free to do what He likes, that is to keep my heart pure, to help the needy, least brothers of Jesus.

    Thank you my Father in Heaven ! Please give me The Holy Spirit of Jesus !

  • Galatianman –

    “DNA is evidence of God”

    So Love is evidence of Venus the god of love?
    And Beauty is evidence of Aphrodite the god of beauty?
    And Fire is evidence of Mars the god of war?

    DNA is NOT evidence of God. It does prove evolution. And it proves RNA is its more primitive forerunner. But it does not prove God.

    Try again.

  • @Gabriel,

    “Free speech is never without consequence”

    NONSENSE! OF COURSE IT IS!
    FREEDOM OF SPEECH EXISTS PRECISELY TO PROTECT SPEECH FROM UNLAWFUL CONSEQUENCES !

    How dare you?

  • samuel johnston

    Hi Richard,
    “A common answer is that God is eternal, and thus has always been there.”
    *******************************************************************************************
    “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.”
    Our minds have evolved to look for “causes”, and to reject infinities.
    The Universe doesn’t have to conform to our ideas about it. Our minds and imaginations are finite, limited, structured…..
    Immanuel Kant’s “Critique of Pure Reason” explains the situation. Modern physics elaborates on the problem.
    Get thee to a library!

  • John

    Hello, colleagues, brothers, friends, believers, unbelievers, atheists, theists, etc

    It is from brother Richard Wurmbrand, who had been an atheist then a believer in Christ, that I learned the following piece of information:

    There are two types of atheists:
    a) The ones who say: “There is no God. So, I can do all kinds of evil I like.”
    b) The ones who say: “There is no God. So, I must do all kinds of good that God would have done if He existed.” He dared continue his conversation with an atheist lieutenant who interrogated him while in prison in Romania. Wurmbrand said Jesus belonged to this second type of atheists. So, many people who saw Jesus’s works of love concluded: Jesus must be God.
    “Mr. lietuenant, if you can be such an atheist as to love and serve everybody, as Jesus did, people will discover that you have become a child of God; and you will discover Divinity in your own being.” In two weeks they became brothers in Christ. ( Be a Jew among Jews, a Greek…

  • G Key

    Wow, John, thanks!

    I care more about how people treat each other than about anything else, and though I don’t personally believe in God, I embrace the Golden Rule by holding myself to respect other people’s personal boundaries, beliefs, belongings, rights, privacy, & equality, as I would have others respect mine.

    Beliefs never hurt anybody; only behaviors can harm. It’s what people do with their beliefs that matters — and it’s all about how we treat each other.

    My mom was a Christian, but she also knew human nature. I’ll never forget what she told me: “Our dear loving God would never abandon his children just because they didn’t believe in him! Those are not God’s words, those are the words of a man after power and other men’s money!”

    Mom accepted my beliefs, and she prayed for me. Now that’s love.

  • John

    Hello, everybody, hello brother G Key !

    I should be fair to brother Richard Wumbrand, and continue:

    “Probably, such an argumentation might shock some Christians. But apostle Paul tells us that a missionary should be a Jew among Jews, a Greek among Greeks. I had to be a Marxist with the Marxist Grecu (that was the name of the lieutenant) and speak his language. Those words of mine went to his heart. He began to think of Jesus and love Him. In two weeks, dressed in his elegant khaki uniform, adorned with the azure insignia of the secret police, Grecu confessed in front of me, a prison inmate dressed in my patched rags. We became brothers in Christ. Since then he helped the prisoners as much as he could, in spite of all hardships and risks that ensued from it… But one day he disappeared…they believed he had been arrested. A true conversion can’t be easily concealed.” ( from Wurmbrant’s book “In God’s Underground”; he suffered in prison for 14 years).

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