Debate: Is Pope Francis right to say there is a limit to freedom of speech?

Pope Francis speaks to journalists during his flight to the Philippines (Photo: PA)

Speaking to journalists on his flight to the Philippines the Pope was asked about free speech in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

While condemning violence in the name of religion as an “aberration”, Francis said there was a limit to free speech.

To illustrate 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. “It’s normal. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.

“There are so many people who speak badly about religions or other religions, who make fun of them, who make a game out of the religions of others,” he said. “They are provocateurs. And what happens to them is what would happen to Dr Gasparri if he says a curse word against my mother. There is a limit.”

Is the Pope right to suggest there is a limit to free speech? Or should we feel free to mock religions as we wish?