The official Vatican state newspaper has slammed expressions of "political correctness" that at the same time mock people's faith, calling it a "sad paradox."
The Vatican paper wrote that "behind the misleading banner of uncompromising secularism, the French weekly is forgetting once again what religious leaders of every faith have been repeating for a long time in rejecting violence in the name of religion — that using God to justify hatred is true blasphemy, as Pope Francis has reiterated several times."
The Charie Hebdo cover marked the one year anniversary of the terror attacks on its offices in Paris that killed 12 staff members by publishing the controversial cover, which came with the headline "One year on, the killer is still on the run."
The magazine was attacked last year by Islamic radicals for publishing cartoons of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, which are considered offensive in the Muslim world. The publication has also made fun of other religions, including Christianity.
People around the world stood up for Charlie Hebdo and freedom of speech, and while Pope Francis also strongly condemned terrorism and violent attacks, he suggested at the time, however, that the publication is wrong to mock people's faith.
"You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others," Francis told journalists back in January 2015.
Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros II echoed Francis' statement, arguing that deeply offensive material need to be rejected "at all levels."
"I refuse any form of personal insult, and when the insult is related to religions, they cannot be approved neither at a human, nor at a moral and social level. They do not help the peace in the world, and do not produce any benefit," the Coptic patriarch said back then.
Charlie Hebdo manager Laurent Sourisseau defended the latest cover in an editorial, denouncing "fanatics brutalised by the Quran," and those who oppose the magazine for "daring to laugh at the religious."
"They won't be the ones to see Charlie die — Charlie will see them kick the bucket," the editorial stated.
L'Osservatore Romano pointed out in its commentary that "one observes the sad paradox of a world that is ever more careful about being 'politically correct' almost to the point of being ridiculous ... but that does not want to recognize and respect every believer's faith in God."
Anouar Kbibech, president of the French council of the Muslim faith, has also said that openly mocking other people's religion is not conductive to society. Kbibech said that Charlie Hebdo'a latest cover "harms all believers of different religions. It is a caricature that is unhelpful at a time when we need to come together side by side."