‘The world is at war,’ but religions are not, pope says on way to Krakow

| Junno Arocho Esteves | July 27, 2016 | 4 Comments
Pope Francis gestures as he speaks to journalists aboard his flight from Rome to Krakow, Poland, July 27. The pope is attending World Youth Day in Krakow. CNS photo/Paul Haring

Pope Francis gestures as he speaks to journalists aboard his flight from Rome to Krakow, Poland, July 27. The pope is attending World Youth Day in Krakow. CNS photo/Paul Haring

The world, not religion, is waging a war in pieces, Pope Francis said.

While it “is not at as organic” as past world wars, “it is organized and it is war,” the pope told journalists July 27 on his flight to Krakow.

“Someone may think that I am speaking about a war of religions. No, all religions want peace. Others want war,” the pope said.

He spoke one day after the murder of a priest during Mass in a Catholic church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, France. Two men, armed with knives, entered the church during Mass. The attackers murdered 84-year-old Father Jacques Hamel, slitting his throat.

“This holy priest who died precisely at the moment he was offering prayers for the whole church,” he said. While lamenting the priest’s death, the pope added that was one of countless innocents butchered by a war fought in pieces.

“How many Christians, how many children, how many innocents?” he said. “We are not afraid of saying this truth: The world is at war because it has lost peace.”

The pope also thanked people for their the countless condolences following the murder. He said this included French President Francois Hollande, who “wished to connect with me by telephone, like a brother.”

Pope Francis expressed his desire that young people attending World Youth Day in Krakow offer a message of hope in a chaotic world.

“Youths always give us hope. Let us hope the youths may tell us something that will give us more hope in this moment,” he said.

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Category: U.S. & World News

  • Charles C.

    Somebody help me out here. The Holy Father says there is an organized war going on resulting in the death of Father Hamel, Christians, and countless butchered innocents.

    Organized by one or more countries? No, brought together by a common interest and intent, and formed into various terrorist organizations. His Holiness says it’s not a war of religions. But, then what is it a war of? Is it an attempt to gain money, or further a political or economic philosophy?

    Is a religion at war? In the literal sense, of course not, it can’t be. Religions can’t fight. The supporters of a religion can fight the supporters of a different religion to further religious ends, and that’s what’s happening here. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) leaders quote scriptures all day long explaining why it is their essential goal to kill or force the submission to Islam of all non-believers. There are many other local groups closely allied to ISIS with the same motivation. Hezbollah and Hamas have similar, though more geographically limited expressions of that belief.

    Most people attempt to separate “Radical” Muslims from true Muslim believers. It is often said that terrorist groups aren’t actually Islamic. On what basis is that distinction made? Most Americans accept that Obama and Trump are practicing, faithful, Christians, simply because they say they are. This is in spite of Trump’s reference to “Two Corinthians”, and Obama’s well, let’s not get into that. Westboro Baptist Church is held up as an example of the bigotry of Christians, assuming thereby that they are Christians.

    So when a group says they are practicing members of a religion, and that religion calls on them to make war on members of all other religions, it might not be technically a war of religions, but what else would you call it?

  • Charles C.

    In the words of a basketball fan, the Pope has been RE-JECTED. More polite phrases might include “Overtaken by events,” or “That turns out not to be the case.” By whom? By ISIS in a magazine article responding to the Pope’s comments.

    One would think that the people doing the fighting would have a better understanding of their own motivations than the Pope would, shouldn’t we listen to what they say and believe them? From an article online:

    “The Islamic State terror group has come out publicly to reject Pope Francis’ claims that the war being waged by Islamic terrorists is not religious in nature, assuring the pontiff that their sole motivation is religious and sanctioned by Allah in the Qur’an.

    “In the most recent issue of Dabiq, the propaganda magazine of the Islamic State, ISIS criticizes Pope Francis for his naïveté in clinging to the conviction that Muslims want peace and that acts of Islamic terror are economically motivated.

    ” ‘This is a divinely-warranted war between the Muslim nation and the nations of disbelief,’ the authors state in an article titled “By the Sword.”

    “Pope Francis “has struggled against reality” in his efforts to portray Islam as a religion of peace, the article insists, before going on to urge all Muslims to take up the sword of jihad, the “greatest obligation” of a true Muslim.

    ” ‘Indeed, waging jihad – spreading the rule of Allah by the sword – is an obligation found in the Quran, the word of our Lord,’ it reads.

    ” ‘The blood of the disbelievers is obligatory to spill by default. The command is clear. Kill the disbelievers, as Allah said, ‘Then kill the polytheists wherever you find them.’ ‘

    ” ‘The fact is, even if you were to stop bombing us, imprisoning us, torturing us, vilifying us, and usurping our lands, we would continue to hate you because our primary reason for hating you will not cease to exist until you embrace Islam. Even if you were to pay jizyah [tax for infidels] and live under the authority of Islam in humiliation, we would continue to hate you.’

    In a recent press conference, Pope Francis told journalists that the world is at war. “But it’s a real war, not a religious war,” he said.

    “It’s a war of interests, a war for money. A war for natural resources and for the dominion of the peoples.”

    “Every religion wants peace,” he said.

    • tschraad

      Charles C. – I question the Pope comments as to just who he believes has started this current war. No country has declared war on another country. What we have is a group of people who beliefs in Islam directs them to kill other Muslims, Christians, Jews and any other non-muslim to honor their Allah who is not the God of peace in my opinion.

      So, in my view, a comparable scenario would be that one of the 40,000 Protestant Christian churches (with a membership of about 320,000) declared a holy war on all other religions.

      In no way can a reasonable person not claim that this is not a religious war that these Muslims are waging.

      • Charles C.

        Nice to talk with you. Thanks for writing.

        I feel sorry for Pope Francis on this issue, he’s in a bit of a spot now. It would have been easier to avoid taking a position on the issue. After all, it’s tough to judge someone’s religion, faith, and motivation.

        Had he said that it was a religious war, the press would start yelling “Crusade!” all over the place, and Moslem countries might interpret it as a declaration of war between Christianity and Islam on a much broader scale.

        Besides, once you say you’re at war with someone it’s kind of expected that you do something about it, like fight maybe? Or at least demand that governments fight for the Church, Christianity, and the West.

        I don’t necessarily mean violence, although that should be a part of it. Is the Church mounting an offensive to convert Muslims? Are governments engaging in propaganda to persuade Muslims that killing people who simple disagree with you is sinful and must not be accepted within Islam? Are the Islamic leaders being strongly encouraged to turn their people away from Jihad?

        How do you convert someone from Islam if the sentence for apostasy is death? Who do you send if sharing Christianity is a criminal offense?

        It is always much easier to do nothing. If you see the situation as a few isolated crazies, who happen to be Muslim, engaging in absurd and random violence, then the only thing required is prayer, sympathy, and aid. Well, maybe a little protective police action also.

        Don’t misunderstand, I believe prayer and sympathy for the victims is powerful and valuable. But if that is basically all that is done, you’re hoping for one of three outcomes. Either God will miraculously intervene, or the terrorists will get bored, or they will decide to give up their religious drive to kill or convert the infidels busy loving their killers.

        By taking the position he has, the Pope has sown confusion and doubt in the world. It may be that there is a deep truth buried in his words, but many will not find it as his words convey a message on their face which baffles and discourages many.