By editor - 02 August, 2016
Pope Francis has warned that in every religion there is always a small group of fundamentalists and that is why he doesn’t like to speak of ‘Islamic violence’.
During an in-flight press conference on his return trip to Rome from World Youth Day in Poland, the Pope was asked by journalists about the “barbarous assassination” of French priest Fr Jacques Hamel while celebrating the Mass.
French journalist Antoine Marie Izoarde of i.Media referred to the Pope’s comment during World Youth Day when he said that all religions want peace.
“But this holy, 86-year-old priest was clearly killed in the name of Islam,” the journalist said and asked the Pontiff why, when he speaks of these violent events, he always speak of terrorists, but never of Islam?
He also asked what concrete measures in addition to prayer and dialogue the Pope would suggest to counteract Islamic violence?
Responding, Pope Francis said that he didn’t like to speak of Islamic violence, because “every day, when I browse the newspapers, I see violence, here in Italy… this one who has murdered his girlfriend, another who has murdered the mother-in-law… and these are baptised Catholics!”
“There are violent Catholics! If I speak of Islamic violence, I must speak of Catholic violence . . . and no, not all Muslims are violent, not all Catholics are violent. It is like a fruit salad; there’s everything. There are violent persons of this religion… this is true: I believe that in pretty much every religion there is always a small group of fundamentalists,” the Pope said.
Acknowledging that Catholicism has its fundamentalists, the Pope stated, “When fundamentalism comes to kill, it can kill with the language – the Apostle James says this, not me – and even with a knife, no?”
He continued, “I do not believe it is right to identify Islam with violence. This is not right or true. I had a long conversation with the imam, the Grand Imam of the Al-Azhar University, and I know how they think . . . They seek peace, encounter …”
He said the nuncio to an African country had told him that in the capital where he is, there is a trail of people, always full, at the Jubilee Holy Door.
And some approach the confessionals – Catholics. Others to the benches to pray, but the majority go forward, to pray at the altar of Our Lady… these are Muslims, who want to make the Jubilee, he explained.
“When I was in Central Africa, I went to them, and even the imam came up on the Popemobile… We can coexist well,” he stressed.
However, the Pope also acknowledged that there are fundamentalist groups. “How many young people of our Europe, whom we have left empty of ideals, who do not have work… they take drugs, alcohol, or go there to enlist in fundamentalist groups.”
Asked for his suggestions for concrete initiatives to counteract terrorism and violence, the Pope said terrorism is everywhere.
“Terrorism grows when there are no other options, and when the centre of the global economy is the god of money and not the person – men and women – this is already the first terrorism!”
“You have cast out the wonder of creation – man and woman – and you have put money in its place. This is a basic terrorism against all of humanity! Think about it!”