Amidst the debate over cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed that were published in Europe and have sparked riots across the Muslim world, the director of the Holy See Press Office, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, said Friday the “right to free expression is an absolute right but it is linked to other rights such as that of respecting others.”
The Vatican spokesman said that as with any other right, “We must ask ourselves what freedom of expression means when it offends others and at that moment temporarily suspends the rights of others.”
Navarro-Valls made his comments before attending a ceremony in which we was awarded the Honoris Causa Laureate in Communications of the Sor Orsola Benincasa University Institute of Naples.
He said Pope Benedict XVI has called this issue “a very serious situation.” Nevertheless, he added, “this phenomenon will not lead to a war of religions.”
“There are one billion Catholics and one billion Muslims in the world. Not everything is hatred. There are some areas of violence, which can in part be attributed to Islam, and in part to a knee-jerk reaction by certain people in some parts of the world,” Navarro-Valls argued.