.- Officials at the Rome headquarters of Opus Dei have expressed their regret at the recent publication of a cartoon depicting Mohammed in hell in an Italian magazine affiliated with the group.
"As could be expected,” wrote Manuel Sánchez Hurtado in a statement, “the cartoon published by the magazine Studi Cattolici has offended Muslims and drawn the attention of journalists and others.”
“Making a joke about Dante putting Mohammed in hell”, he said, “is a serious error. It is one thing to appreciate Dante’s Divine Comedy and a very different thing to joke about this particular scene in the present climate and in a Catholic magazine.”
The communications office official pointed out that the debacle “comes in the context of the unfortunate publication of cartoons in Denmark, which was considered provocative.” He stressed however, that those cartoons did not justify the violent reactions with which they were received.
Although Opus Dei noted that its Prelature is not responsible for Studi Cattolici, it admitted that some members of the apostolate do work on the publication. “Understandably”, he said, “this fact has created some confusion.”
“Also, many Muslims and persons from different religious beliefs cooperate with the works of Opus Dei. Consequently our office has been receiving queries concerning this matter, and we have felt it necessary to provide a response,” Hurtado said.
“The editors of the magazine”, he pointed out, “have stated that they did not intend to offend anyone and publicly apologized for any offense they may have given. In accord with what we have expressed repeatedly over the past several months, we feel obliged to unite ourselves to this request for forgiveness.”