Opus Dei Decries Mohammed Cartoon

Published in Catholic Magazine

ROME, APRIL 16, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Opus Dei described as “deplorable” the publication of a cartoon showing the prophet Mohammed in hell, published by the magazine Studii Cattolici, edited by one of its members.

The cartoon, based on a passage of “The Divine Comedy,” shows Italian poets Dante Alighieri and Virgil on the edge of a circle of flames looking down on Mohammed, whose body is cut in half. Dante comments that the prophet is cut in half because of the division he brought to society.

The editor of the magazine, Cesare Cavalleri, is a member of Opus Dei.

In a statement released by Marc Carroggio, director of the Opus Dei press office in Rome, the prelature stated: “We consider it deplorable that this cartoon should appear in a magazine that has the name Catholic in its title. Its publication shows a lack of sensitivity and Christian charity.”

“Although the Opus Dei has no responsibility for this magazine,” the statement continued, "and each person is responsible for his or her own actions, we wish to ask forgiveness for the offense given.”

The statement adds that “religions and their symbols should be respected and religious sensibilities should not be subjected to ridicule. The only road to peace and brotherhood is respect for others’ convictions and practices. Such respect cannot remain at the level of theory, but should be expressed in concrete gestures and actions.”