7 3 mins 7 yrs

When still a young man, I served a five-year apprenticeship. Once out of my ‘time’, I joined the Merchant Navy, and realised how much I still had to learn; about people, about my work, about the fact that, when you are an Electrical Engineering Officer, you are the guy to go to when things go wrong. You learn fast, or you don’t survive. All the other Engineering Officers, junior and senior, know very little about your line of work, because that’s what you have been trained for. So you cope; you answer the questions, and those answers had better be right, from Day One.

Transfer those thoughts, those ideals and ideas, to another line of work, a significantly different work, and a much more responsible position, and the answers must still be the correct ones, every time. Imagine you have been in the ranks of the Roman Catholic priesthood, and through a certain rigorous process, you become a Cardinal, a Prince of the Church of Rome. Then, one day, out of a cloudless blue sky, comes the thunderbolt: your close colleagues believe you have the qualities to be their leader, the religious prince of Princes, the Pope. You impress many with your humility, your willingness to learn, your acceptance of a simple life, even as Head of the Church of Rome. You continue to stay in a small religious hotel, you don’t want all the fuss, the attention. You commence your own crusades for tolerance, for acceptance, for peace; and it is commonly felt, even amongst your opponents, that you are doing a pretty good job.

And then you screw it all up, in the space of ten seconds, when you state that the Freedom to Speak, the very Freedom of Expression, has its limits. The Pope said “”One cannot provoke, one cannot insult other people’s faith, one cannot make fun of faith.”.

Well, Frankie, you are dead wrong. You may be considered ‘infallible’ by your billion-strong congregation, but only on matters of Dogma, of Faith: in everything else, you are just another fallible human being, and you got the Freedom bit totally, utterly wrong! What you have espoused, what you have told your followers; that is the excuse used by the murderous killers of the Charlie Hebdo staffers.

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7 thoughts on “Frankie shoots from the hip: and misses!

  1. Well, no.

    He said one should act responsibly and not insult someone’s faith. Good advice.

    He didn’t say that the right to insult someone’s faith should be banned.

  2. Mournereg

    cannot is not the same as should not. He used the word cannot in the same sentence to say cannot kill in the name of god, and cannot insult other people religion. He compared the 2 activities as both unacceptable and effectively impermissable. His views clearly imply that religous faith deserves special protection over other ideologies or beliefs or social viewpoints in terms of public debate and expression. He is wrong.

  3. I disagree colm. He did not link the two as equal but rather deplored insulting people because of their religion.

  4. Obviously for a Christian one cannot deliberaly insult and hurt other people, no matter whom or how. Speaking as a Christian, the Pope was perfectly right. It’s only because others have fallen so far from the Christian principle that they find something objectionable to what he said, when in fact it was perfectly obvious.

  5. His views clearly imply that religous faith deserves special protection over other ideologies or beliefs or social viewpoints in terms of public debate and expression. He is wrong.

    Exactly.

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