If you're late to the party, this story on Jason Rosenhouse's excellent blog covers the whole kerfuffle. I was pleased that he arrived as the same conclusion I did:
What is the Pope trying to say here? Why would you hedge in your condemnation of religious violence? Why do you respond to a vile terrorist attack by warning everyone to be respectful of religion? To me it sure seems like he’s saying the terrorists were justified in their rage, they just overreacted a little.Blasphemy is good. Try to insult religion every single day: it's your duty as a responsible human being. Religion is a fairy tale -- and yet it's tearing the world to shreds and preventing us from focusing on real problems. Religion is a great evil. Let's relegate it to the past.
That’s the real face of religion. One minute they’re telling you they are God’s emissaries on earth, uniquely qualified to hold forth on morality and the nature of reality, the next they are so touchy that the slightest insult is considered a provocation worthy of violence. The Pope says it’s a duty to speak one’s mind for the sake of the common good. But what if a major threat to the common good is coming from self-proclaimed religious authorities?
Charlie Hebdo is acting to promote the common good. I don’t know what the Pope is doing.