Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Pope: Stop Unjust Aggression
Pope Francis has expressed solidarity with people of all faiths who have been victims of the violence in Iraq, and says the global community must come together to stop the 'unjust aggressors' in the region.
In an interview with journalists on the flight home from his visit to Korea, Pope Francis was asked if he approved of the US's decision to bomb jihadist forces in Iraq in order to protect minorities, including Christians, whose safety was in jeopardy.
'I can only say this: it is licit to stop the unjust aggressor', said the Pope. 'I underline the verb: stop. I do not say bomb, make war, I say stop by some means. With what means can they be stopped? These have to be evaluated. To stop the unjust aggressor is licit.'
The Pope warned that, historically, the pretence of stopping an unjust oppressor had been used to justify wars of conquest. He said one nation alone could not decide how to intervene, but that it was what the United Nations had been created for.
'It is there that this should be discussed. Is there an unjust aggressor? It would seem there is. How do we stop him? Only that, nothing more', the Pope said.
He said while Christians were suffering in Iraq, the issue wasn't just about protecting one particular community.
'The martyrs, there are many martyrs. But here there are men and women, religious minorities, not all of them Christian, and they are all equal before God', he said.
Later in his interview, the Pope spoke about cruelty and torture, and particularly the vulnerable people who get caught up in conflict.
'Once they spoke about a conventional war, today that does not count. I'm not saying that conventional wars were good things, but today a bomb is sent and it kills the innocent, the guilty, children, women, they kill everybody', he said.
'No! We must stop and think a little about the level of cruelty at which we have arrived.'
He added that torture, used 'almost ordinarily' in the forces of intelligence and judicial processes, is a 'sin against humanity'.
'I would like very much if you, in your media, make a reflection: How do you see these things today? How do you see the cruelty of humanity, and what do you think of torture. I think it would do us all good to reflect on this', he said.
The Pope also spoke about his relationship with Pope Benedict, and said that 'emeritus Popes' may become a more common occurrence in the future.
'At a certain age there isn't the capacity to govern well because the body gets tired, and maybe one's health is good but there isn't the capacity to carry forward all the problems of a government like that of the Church', he said.
Pope Benedict had made 'a beautiful gesture of nobility, of humility and courage'.
'But you could say to me, if you at some time felt you could not go forward, I would do the same! ... I would pray, but I would do the same.'