Former CNN host and commentator Piers Morgan accused Pope Francis of endorsing "violence as a way to respond to insults" and called comments the pontiff made Thursday about free speech and religious critique both "ridiculous and dangerous."
Morgan, who took aim at the pope's remarks following the terror attack on French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, wrote in a Daily Mail column that he could hardly believe the analogy Pope Francis used while addressing reporters Thursday — one that shocked him "to the core."
As TheBlaze previously reported, Pope Francis used an example surrounding Alberto Gasparri, the man who organizes his trips, to explain that strong reactions can be expected when people choose to pointedly offend others.
Piers Morgan (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
“If my good friend Dr. Gasparri says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch. It’s normal. It’s normal,” he said. “You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.”
It was these remarks that clearly stunned Morgan.
"Here was my Holy Father, supposedly a man who espouses the philosophy of turning the other cheek, telling us all to whack someone in the face if they insult us," he wrote. "Well, isn’t that exactly what Al Qaida did in Paris, metaphorically speaking? They claimed the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists had insulted their religion, and reacted with physical aggression. Albeit aggression of a deadly, despicable [variety]."
While Morgan expressed his disagreement and called the pope's claims — that religion should not be mocked — "ridiculous and dangerous," he said he generally likes Pope Francis and has found him, on the whole, quite endearing.
"Pope Francis was keen to stress that nobody should kill in the name of religion," Morgan continued. "But what if the punch he advocates for exacting revenge on an insult kills someone, as many punches do?"
He concluded by calling the pope "entirely wrong" on the issue and said he doesn't believe faith leaders should endorse violence.
Read the piece in its entirety here.
Pope Francis (Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
As TheBlaze previously reported, Pope Francis also said that many people speak ill faith and “make a game out of the religions of others.” It is this, he said, that is problematic.
“They are provocateurs. And what happens to them is what would happen to Dr. Gasparri if he says a curse word against my mother,” the pontiff said. “There is a limit.”
The Vatican responded to controversy Thursday over the pope's remarks, with spokesman Thomas Rosica telling CNN that the pope was not justifying the terror attack in Paris.
"The Pope has spoken out clearly against the terror and violence that occurred in Paris and in other parts of the world," Rosica said in an email. "The Pope's words about Dr. Gasbarri were spoken colloquially and in (a) friendly, intimate manner among colleagues and friends. His response might be similar to something each of us has felt when those dearest to us are insulted or harmed."
(H/T: Daily Mail)