Salman Rushdie's book The Satanic Verses is denounced by the Vatican as "blasphemous," but it also rejects the death threats made against him by Muslim religious and political leaders.
''The very attachment to our own faith induces us to deplore that which is irreverent and blasphemous in the book's contents.
It should not, however, be difficult to understand that the sacredness of the religious conscience of every individual cannot be set apart from the sacredness of the life of other men.
The solidarity of those who have felt wounded in their dignity must be accompanied by a pressing vow to abandon attitudes of hate that also sound like offenses to God.
It is certainly fair to ask what kind of art or liberty we are dealing with when, in their name, people's most profound dimension is attacked and their sensitivity as believers is offended."
L'Osservatore Romano is the official Vatican newspaper and its editorials can be treated not only as officials expressions of Vatican positions, but as something the pope agrees with — even though Pope John Paul II hasn't made any official statements on the Salman Rushdie matter.