Pope Francis told reporters that global instability incited by Islamic fanaticism is not about religion, denouncing a war he says is not fundamentally theological in nature.
“It’s a real war, not a religious war,” the pontiff told reporters aboard the papal plane. “It’s a war of interests, a war for money. A war for natural resources and for the dominion of the peoples. Some might say it’s a religious war. Every religion wants peace. The war is wanted by the others. Understood?” The pope is enroute to World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland.
“Let’s not be afraid to say the truth,” he continued. “The world is at war, because it’s lost its peace!”
The pope has been critical of the “clash of civilizations” thesis before, urging further cultural integration and stressing the congruent themes and roots of Christianity and Islam.
“In London, the new mayor took his oath of office in a cathedral and will undoubtedly meet the Queen. This illustrates the need for Europe to rediscover its capacity to integrate,” he said of London’s first Muslim mayor, Sadiq Khan, in an interview with a French Catholic newspaper in May.
“When I hear talk of the Christian roots of Europe, I sometimes dread the tone, which can seem triumphalist or even vengeful,” he added. “It then takes on colonialist overtones.”
He frequently contextualizes the rising tide of violence in terms of a piecemeal war, spasms of violence precipitated by a failing global economic consensus desperate to preserve viability. “We are discarding an entire generation to maintain an economic system that can’t hold up any more, a system that to survive, must make war, as all great empires have done,” he told a Spanish language magazine in 2014. “But as a third world war can’t be waged, they make regional wars, they produce and sell weapons, and with this, the balance sheets of the idolatrous economies, the great world economies that sacrifice man at the feet of the idol of money, are resolved.”
Francis spoke to the murder of Fr. Jacques Hamel, a French priest who was beheaded during mass in his Normandy church Tuesday by ISIS-inspired knifemen, saying Hamel’s death is a brutish reminder of the global persecution of Christians. (RELATED: French Terrorist Who Killed A Priest Was On A Watchlist, Wore A Tracker)
“This holy priest who died in the very moment he was offering a prayer for the whole Church, is [only] one, but there are so many Christians, so many innocents, so many children,” he said.
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