(Vatican Radio) Speaking about the Paris terror attacks, Pope Francis said on Thursday that there are limits to freedom of expression, especially when it insults or ridicules someone’s faith.  His comments came during a wide-ranging press conference with journalists accompanying him on his flight from Sri Lanka to the Philippines to start the second and final leg of his journey to Asia.

During the press conference, Pope Francis was asked by a French journalist about the relationship between freedom of religion and freedom of expression.  He replied saying that both are “fundamental human rights” and stressed that killing in the name of God “is an aberration.”. But he said there were limits to that freedom of expression.  By way of example he referred to Alberto Gasparri who organizes the papal trips and was standing by his side on the plane. The Pope said if “his good friend Dr Gasparri” says a curse word against his mother, he can “expect a punch”, and at that point he gestured with a pretend punch towards him, saying: “It’s normal. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others.  You cannot make fun of the faith of others.” (photos – news.va)

Pope Francis -in flight conference

Pope Francis also spoke about climate change, saying he doesn’t know if human activity “is the only cause” of this but added that it is “man who has slapped nature in the face.” Humans, he went on, have “exploited nature too much” and he referred to his forthcoming encyclical on ecology, saying he hopes the document will encourage negotiators at a climate change meeting in Paris to make “courageous decisions” to protect God’s creation.

During the press conference, the Pope also spoke about his priorities for his pastoral visit to the Philippines, saying the focus of his message will be the plight of the poor, those who suffered during the 2013 typhoon and those who “face so many injustices, social spiritual, existential.”

(CNA/EWTN) – During an in-flight press conference Pope Francis spoke on the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack, saying that freedom of expression has limits but no one has the right to kill in the name of God.

“Let’s go to Paris. Let’s speak clearly,” said Pope Francis in reference to the Charlie Hebdo killings. He was asked by a French journalist if he saw freedom of expression as a fundamental human right. “You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith,” Pope Francis said during a Jan. 15 press conference held en-route to the Philippines. If you do, he said, you “can expect a punch.”

On Jan.7 Muslim extremists entered the headquarters of French newspaper Charlie Hebdo, killing 12 people. They claimed the attacks avenged the cartoons printed in the publication that depicted offensive images of the Prophet Mohammed.

The Pope said that while the Paris attack “astonishes us,” in world history wars and atrocities like the Catholic-led massacre “St. Bartholomew’s night” incident in France have also come from those who profess religions.

“Also we were sinners in this,” he added. “But you cannot kill in the name of God, This is an aberration. Killing in the name of God is an aberration against God. I think this is the main thing with freedom of religion. You can practice with freedom but without imposing or killing.”

He said that every person has not just the freedom or right, but also an obligation “to say what he thinks” to build the common good. “We have the obligation to freely have this liberty, but without offending.”

Just yesterday at Mass in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Pope Francis categorized the freedom of religion as a fundamental human right.

During the airborne press conference called both freedom of religion and expression “fundamental human rights,” but said there are limits to the freedoms. “You cannot offend or make war, kill in the name of your religion, that is in the name of God,” the Pope told journalists.

But if the freedom of expression is used to offend, he said, one can expect a reaction. He used the example of Dr. Alberto Gasbarri, the organizer of papal trips, who was standing beside him during the in-flight press conference. “It’s true that you cannot react violently. But, if Dr. Gasbarri, my great friend, says something against my mother, he can expect a punch. It’s normal.”

Those who “giocatalizzano” or “make a plaything out of the religion of others … are provoking,” he went on. “And, what can happen is what I said about Dr. Gasbarri if he says something about my mother. There’s a limit.” “Every religion has dignity, every religion that respects human life and the human person and I cannot make fun of it. And this is a limit,” he added.

About freedom of religion, he said “You cannot hide the truth. Everyone has the right to practice their religion, their own religion without offending, freely. And that’s what we do, what we all want to do.”

Referencing rumors that the terrorist group ISIS might be planning a targeted attack on him, Pope Francis answered by saying that he’s not worried, and that the best way to react is always with a “meek (and) humble” attitude “without making aggression. I am feeling that there are some who do not understand this.” “This worries me, no? It worries me enough. I have fear but I have an effect, a good dose of unawareness. I am unaware of these things.”

However the Pope did express concern for the faithful who might be present if an attack did occur, and said that he has already spoken with the Vatican’s security, who are “charged with solving this.”

(CNA/EWTN)  –  During an in-flight press conference on his way to the Philippines, Pope Francis said he plans to have his much-anticipated encyclical on man’s relationship with creation finished in March. “At the end of March, I think it will be completed,” he told journalists aboard the papal plane Jan. 15. “I think that if the translations go well, in June or July, it could come out.”

A year ago this month, the Vatican had announced the Pope’s plans to write on the theme of “human ecology” – a phrase that was originally coined by retired pontiff Benedict XVI. This expression, spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said at the time, describes not only how the faithful must respect the environment, but also how the nature of the person – masculine and feminine as created by God – must also be defended.

Pope Francis told journalists Thursday that the first draft of the encyclical was completed by Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. “Then I worked on it,” the Pope said. “Then some theologians worked on the third version.”

The document was then reviewed by the Vatican Secretary of State as well as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. “Three weeks ago, I received the responses – some rather vague,” he added. “Now I’ll take a week out in March to look at it.”

Pope Francis’ first encyclical, entitled “Lumen Fidei,” or “Light of Faith,” was released in 2013. It was written by the pontiff as a completion of the work initiated by his predecessor, Benedict XVI, who resigned before the document was finished.

The Pope touched down in the Philippines Thursday where he will visit through Jan. 19, following his three-day visit to Sri Lanka.  In stark contrast to Sri Lanka’s small Christian community, 86 percent of the Philippines’ 93.4 million people identify as Catholic. While the country has not known as much political unrest as Sri Lanka recently, the Philippines has been ravaged by several typhoons, earthquakes and other natural disasters in recent years.


Early Thursday morning (January 15) Pope Francis traveled by car from the apostolic nunciature of Colombo to the airport where he departed for Manila, capital of the Philippines. On his way to the airport, he stopped to visit the Benedict XVI Cultural Institute where he was received by the rector, Fr. Mahamale Quintus Fernando and two hundred workers who had collaborated in building the center in 2011.

He then visited Our Lady of Lanka Chapel, greeted by 10 Jesuit fathers belonging to the community linked to the institute, a choir and a group of fishermen from the area.  Our Lady of Lanka Chapel dates from 1911 and was initially dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes. With the outbreak of World War II, Cardinal Jean-Marie Masson, O.M.I., archbishop of Colombo, made a vow to the Virgin: if the country was spared the horrors of war, he would build a shrine where the chapel stood, dedicated to Our Lady of Lanka. The work was completed in 1974 and the chapel was consecrated in February of the same year, with the status of Minor Basilica granted by Pope Paul VI.

The Benedict XVI Cultural Institute was opened in 2011 upon the initiative of Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, archbishop of Colombo, to facilitate collaboration with the authorities and other agencies in rebuilding the nation following thirty years of civil war.

Pope Francis then resumed his journey to the airport, where Maithripala Sirisena, president of the Republic, various representatives of the civil authorities and a group of faithful bade him farewell.

At 9 a.m. local time the aircraft carrying the Pope departed from Colombo for the Filipino capital. After a flight of six and a quarter hours, as the sun was setting, the papal plane arrived at the Villamor Air Base in Manila where the Pope was received by representatives of the religious and civil authorities, including the apostolic nuncio Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto and the president of the Philippines, Benigno Aquino III.

Pope Francis-arrival Manila

Two children offered flowers to the Pope as he disembarked. In addition, around 100 hundred adolescents sang “Welcome Pope Francis,” and a large group of younger children dressed in white and yellow performed a lively dance.

The Holy Father left the air base in an open Popemobile to travel the nine kilometres separating the base from the apostolic nunciature of Manila, during which he greeted the many faithful who awaited him. Upon arrival at the apostolic nunciature, he dined in private and rested. (Source: VIS).


PAPAL CHAIRS – A young industrial designer could barely contain her excitement as she plays a part in the historic visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines. Veronica Lazo, along with other designers, was asked by her boss, furniture maker Nick de Lange, to create two chairs for Pope Francis, according to an article posted on the website CoconutsManila last Wednesday. Much to her surprise, it was Lazo’s concept that was selected by the Vatican, the article read. Click here to continue story: http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2015/01/16/1413454/vatican-picks-pinays-design-popes-chairs

CROWD CONTROL, AIRLIFTS, EMERGENCIES –  It was a scenario that they had prepared for a hundred times over but in the end, could not prevent. Pope John Paul II’s ceremonial procession during his second visit to the Philippines in 1995 started out routinely enough. But when the vehicle entered Roxas Boulevard, where thousands of Filipinos had been waiting for hours, it was nothing short of pandemonium. The crowd breached security barriers, rushing towards the popemobile to catch a glimpse of the charismatic leader of the Roman Catholic Church. “Wala nang magawa ang mga pulis (The police can’t do anything about it),” said a Filipino broadcaster in a clip from a 1995 news report. The trip that was only supposed to take 45 minutes in 1995 – from the airport to the Pope’s official residence, the Apostolic Nunciature – took hours. For more, click here: http://www.rappler.com/specials/pope-francis-ph/80827-pope-francis-crowd-control

HOW FILIPINOS SEE POPE FRANCIS: A ROCK STAR, AN ANGEL, A LIVING SAINT WITH A CUTE SMILE – A special sandwich with a cheese filling bearing the image of Pope Francis was one mother’s way of welcoming the leader of the Catholic Church. The image was posted on Twitter, like that of a watermelon carving of Francis courtesy of a chef from the Bicol region. Other Filipino Catholics, though not as creative, expressed their excitement and admiration in the form of makeshift posters as they lined the streets when the papal convoy motored from the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City. In his first trip to the predominantly Catholic Philippines, the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics received a rousing welcome, Filipino-style. For more, click here: Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/664923/filipino-style-welcome-for-pope-francis-robust-warm-rousing#ixzz3Oukiqjkr

RULES FOR SURVIVING HUGE CROWDS – Here are some reminders to survive a sea of crowd during the papal visit (6 million at one Mass, they say!): 1. Keep calm, don’t push, don’t run. 2. Avoid bringing children, pregnant women, elderly and persons with heath issues to the event. 3. Identify a group leader. 4. Know where the exits are. 5. Designate a worst-case scenario meet-up place. 6. Avoid pushing and forcing your way through a sea of people. 7. Know when to get out of a crowd. 8. Inch sideways to get out. 9.If crowd is continuously moving, move with crowd. 10. Don’t bend to pick up things from the ground. More: https://ph.news.yahoo.com/survival-guide-video–avoid-stampede-at-quirino-grandstand-during–popeinph-033934750.html