Vatican cardinal criticizes cartoons satirizing prophet Mohammed
ROME (CNS) – A Vatican cardinal sharply criticized the publication of newspaper cartoons satirizing the prophet Mohammed, saying the caricatures have offended the religious sentiments of millions of Muslims.
ISLAMISTS PROTEST DANISH CARTOON – Jordanian Islamists shout slogans during a demonstration in Amman, Jordan, Feb. 3 against the publication of cartoons in European newspapers depicting the prophet Mohammed. Vatican Cardinal Achille Silvestrini sharply criticized the publication of newspaper cartoons satirizing the prophet Mohammed Feb. 3. (CNS photo/Reuters)
Cardinal Achille Silvestrini, a leader for many years in the Vatican's diplomatic service, said the cartoons demonstrated a growing trend to make fun of religious symbols in general.
"Freedom of satire that offends the sentiments of others becomes an abuse -- and in this case it has affected the sentiments of entire populations in their highest symbols," the cardinal told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera Feb. 3.
The cardinal said Christianity has similar sensitivities.
"One can understand satire about a priest but not about God. With reference to Islam, we could understand satire on the uses and customs and behavior, but not about the Quran, Allah and the Prophet," he said.
The cardinal said secular societies should not assume a right to offend religious sentiments. He noted that many countries consider it illegal to offend their national flag and asked, "Shouldn't we consider religious symbols on an equal level with the symbols of secular institutions?"
The cartoons first appeared in a Danish newspaper last fall and have recently been reprinted in several European newspapers as a gesture of free speech, amid growing criticism in the Muslim world. Several protest demonstrations have been held in Muslim countries; in Indonesia Feb. 3 the Danish Embassy was overrun and damaged by angry militants.
The cartoons are considered blasphemous because, first of all, Islam does not allow depictions of Mohammed, and, second, they show Mohammed in a number of disrespectful ways. One cartoon, for example, shows Mohammed in a turban shaped as a bomb.
Msgr. Aldo Giordano, general secretary of the Council of European Bishops' Conferences, told Vatican Radio Feb. 3 that this type of satire was a type of vulgarity that goes against human rights.
"I see that the entire Christian world is very saddened and pained by satire of this type, aimed at the brothers of another religion," he said.
At the same time, he said it was important not to overreact and "not make it an occasion for a clash of civilizations."
"We should be able to transform offenses in an occasion of greater solidarity," he said.
Copyright (c) 2006 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Europe News
- Pope Francis: To Evangelize, We Must Be Open to the Action of the Spirit of God
- Pentecostal Pope Calls Ecclesial Movements and the Whole Church to Newness, Unity and Mission
- Historic Meeting between Pope Francis and Coptic Patriarch, Tawadros II, Fosters Christian Unity
- Pope Francis Shakes up the Ambassadors Meeting and Addresses Economic Issues
- AU CONTRAIRE! Economic crisis has been 'pulling European public opinion apart'
- Pope Calls Whole Church to Encounter Jesus Christ Personally Through the Holy Spirit
- France ponder one percent 'Internet tax' to fund domestic computer production
- Pope Francis Canonizes 802 Saints: 800 Martyrs of Otranto and Two Latin American Foundresses
- Growth in Number of Catholics Worldwide, Along with Priests and Deacons
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?