The pope on free speech: if someone was rude about my mother, I would punch him

The papal raging bull.

Sign Up

Get the New Statesman's Morning Call email.

Pope Francis has weighed in on the free speech debate prompted by the attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Speaking from the papal plane (who knew he had a plane? This mole certainly didn’t), he explained there are always limits to free speech, especially when it comes to ridiculing others’ faith.

He then acted out his views, just in case we didn't understand him the first time. The Associated Press reports:

He referred to Alberto Gasparri, who organises papal trips and was standing by his side aboard the papal plane.

“If my good friend Dr Gasparri says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch,” Francis said, throwing a pretend punch his way. “It's normal. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.”

This mole, for one, hopes that Pope Francis often pretends to punch his staff in order to make rhetorical points. Otherwise, what is the point of being pope, eh?

I'm a mole, innit.