As much of the world’s Muslim community remains up in arms over the publication of what they call offensive cartoons recently depicting the prophet Mohammed in a Danish newspaper, the Vatican has come out against the both the needless publication as well as a violent response on the part of many Muslims.
The Vatican Press office released a statement Friday in response they said, to numerous requests for an official comment on the controversy.
In three parts, the statement both criticized the publication of the cartoons and the violent reactions sparked thereby.
First, it pointed out that “The right to freedom of thought and expression, sanctioned by the Declaration of the Rights of Man, cannot imply the right to offend the religious sentiments of believers. This principle obviously applies for any religion.”
The Church also pointed out that “coexistence calls for a climate of mutual respect favoring peace among men and nations. Moreover, these kinds of exasperated criticisms or derision of others manifest a lack of human sensitivity and may constitute in some cases an inadmissible provocation.”
The statement added that “A reading of history shows that wounds existing in the life of a people are not healed in this way.”
Thirdly however, the Vatican stressed that “the offenses caused by an individual or a member of the press cannot be imputed to the public institutions of the corresponding country, whose authorities might and should intervene eventually, according to the principles of national legislation.”
It said therefore, that “violent actions of protest are equally deplorable.”
“Reaction in the face of offense cannot fail the true spirit of all religion. Real or verbal intolerance, no matter where it comes from, whether as action or reaction, is always a serious threat to peace."