Questions/Quote of the Day
Excerpt from Pope Francis’ in-flight press conference, returning to Italy from Poland
Antoine Marie Izoard of i.Media: “Catholics are a bit in shock, and not only in France, after the barbarous assassination of Fr. Jacques Hamel – as you know well – in his church while celebrating the Holy Mass. Four days ago you here told us that all religions want peace. But this holy, 86-year-old priest was clearly killed in the name of Islam. So Holy Father, I have two brief questions: why do you, when you speak of these violent events, always speak of terrorists, but never of Islam, never use the word Islam? And then, aside from prayer and dialogue, which are obviously essential, what concrete initiatives can you advise or suggest in order to counteract Islamic violence? Thank you, Holiness.”
Pope Francis:“I don’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 baptized 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. Fundamentalists. We have them. When fundamentalism comes to kill, it can kill with the language — the Apostle James says this, not me — and even with a knife, no?
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 . . . The nuncio to an African country told me that 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. They are brothers, they live…
When I was in Central Africa, I went to them, and even the imam came up on the Popemobile… We can coexist well… But there are fundamentalist groups, and even I ask… there is a question… How many young people, 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. One can say that the so-called ISIS, but it is an Islamic State which presents itself as violent . . . because when they show us their identity cards, they show us how on the Libyan coast how they slit the Egyptians’ throats or other things… But this is a fundamentalist group which is called ISIS… but you cannot say, I do not believe, that it is true or right that Islam is terrorist.”
Izoard: “Your concrete initiatives to counteract terrorism, violence?”
Pope Francis: “Terrorism is everywhere. You think of the tribal terrorism of some African countries. It is terrorism and also . . . But I don’t know if I say it because it is a little dangerous… Terrorism grows when there are no other options, and when the center 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!”
Responses to Pope Francis’ remarks and other thoughts on Islam and violent jihad
- Read Was Pope Francis Overindulgent Toward Islam and Violence? (Father George Woodall, August 5, 2016, NC Register)
- Question Is Islam compatible with the concept of religious freedom?
- Read Syrian Catholic leader challenges claims Islam is non-violent (Ines San Martin, August 3, 2016, Crux)
- Read Patriarch Younan’s remarks at the Knights of Columbus annual convention in Toronto
- Read Pope Francis refuses to play the game of Islamic radicals (Austen Ivereigh, August 4, 2016, Crux)
- Question Is the terrorist’s interpretation of Islam legitimate? Who has the authority to decide?
- Read Blind Violence, Blind Guides (William Kilpatrick writes after attack in Nice, July 18, 2016, Crisis Magazine)
- Read Endless Jihad: The Truth About Islam and Violence (Catholic Answers)
- Watch Leaving Islam and Converting to Christianity in Egypt (BBC)