Father Thomas Rosica, Vatican spokesman, issued this statement:
The Pope’s expression is in no way intended to be interpreted as a justification for the violence and terror that took place in Paris last week. The Pope’s words about Dr. Gasbarri were spoken colloquially and in a friendly, intimate matter among colleagues and friends on the journey. His words mean that there are limits to humor and satire particularly in the ways that we speak about matters of faith and belief. Pope Francis’ response might be similar to something each of us has felt when those dearest to us are insulted or harmed. The Pope’s free style of speech, especially in situations like the press conference must be taken at face value and not distorted or manipulated. The Pope has spoken out clearly against the terror and violence that occurred in Paris and in other parts of the world. Violence begets violence. Pope Francis has not advocated violence with his words on the flight.
Aleteia published the statement along with the context – that Dr. Gasbarri was a papal staffer who the Pope joked he would punch in the nose if Gasbarri said anything about his mother. Additionally, the Aleteia article publishes a statement by the Coptic pope and a bishop.
The article also notes that Charlie Hebdo staffers say they don’t want support from Catholics:
What made us laugh the most is that the bells of Notre Dame rang in our honor. We would like to send a message to Pope Francis…: We will only accept the bells of Notre Dame ringing in our honor when it is Femen who make them ring.
This wasn’t the first time nor will it be the last that the current Pope has his words distorted, taken out of context, or mis-translated by those in the media or other groups eager to cast him in light if their own views or biases.
Quinton is a native South Carolinian who has lived in Baltimore since 2006. He is a recent convert to the Catholic Church and is active in the Knights of Columbus. He has been involved in the pro-life movement nationally and locally since 2010.
Quinton is a veteran who served as an intelligence analyst in the Army National Guard. He is also an Eagle Scout.