Pope on plane to World Youth Day: “The world is at war; it has lost peace,” but “it is not a war of religions.”

People walk past St. Therese Church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, France, near Rouen July 27, a day after a French priest was killed with a knife during Mass (CNS photo/Pascal Rossignol, Reuters).

“The world is at war; it has lost peace,” Pope Francis said on the plane to Krakow for World Youth Day. But, he insisted, “it is not a war of religions.”

Commenting on what happened in different parts of the world in recent times, and yesterday in France with an attack on a church and the killing of an elderly priest, Francis told the 75 journalists from 15 countries traveling with him that “the word that comes to mind is ‘insecurity,’ but the real word is ‘war.’”


For some time now, he said, he had spoken of a world war “that is taking place in pieces.”

He recalled the world wars of 1914-19 and 1939-45 and said, “There is now this one.”   

“It’s not perhaps an organic war [like those], but it is organized. Yes. It is war,” the pope stated.

Referring to the brutal killing of an 86-year-old priest in a church near Rouen, France, the previous day, Francis said, “This holy priest was killed at a moment in which he was offering prayers for the church.” But other people, too, are being killed, he added, including women and children in such places as Nigeria and in other parts of Africa.

“Let’s not be afraid to say so: The world is at war because it has lost peace,” Francis declared.

To avoid any misunderstanding, Francis returned to the subject after greeting each of the journalists individually. He explained, “When I speak of war, I am not speaking of a war of religions. No. There is war, a war for interests, for money, for natural resources, for domination of peoples.”

“All religions want peace; others want war,” he stated.  

(NOTE: This is a working translation by America’s correspondent in absence of official one.)

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Beth Cioffoletti
2 years 2 months ago
The clarity of Francis' words ring loud and clear. I'm glad that he used the "war" word, because this is exactly what war is: fear. The world appears a strange place just now. So much fear and anger expressing itself through hatred and violence, with people seemingly unable to find any peace or comfort in their own hearts, and projecting the blame onto anyone and everyone else.
William Rydberg
2 years 2 months ago
This is a wise man...
J Cosgrove
2 years 2 months ago
There is war, a war for interests, for money, for natural resources, for domination of peoples.
What is meant by this? It is very strange. Who are these warring parties?
Kevin Murphy
2 years 2 months ago
I've not taken Francis' comments too seriously before, but this is the worst. A Catholic priest was murdered by Islamic radicals because of his religion. Middle East Christians are being slaughtered because of their faith, yet the Pope offers sophistry and confusion. I really believe he enjoys making these flippant remarks.
Beth Cioffoletti
2 years 2 months ago
OK. I'm going to attempt to interpret Francis' words, the way that I hear them, to those who are confused. Francis is going to the root of war, which is the fear and insecurity found in each of us when we cease to truly believe in God. There is an ongoing narrative in the media nowadays that tries to say that this is a war between Islam and Christianity. This is superficial. Both Islam and Christianity - and all religions worth their salt - will lead us to consciously face the fear and insecurity in our own hearts. The fear that causes us to hate others and ourselves, to see crime in others and try to destroy them. The powers that be - those who stockpile money, weapons, and natural resources - will prey on the insecurity and fear in us. They want us to believe that more money, or more weapons, will make us safe. This is a lie. They make a lot of money off of this scheme. They even twist religion into a political ploy that supposedly believes their lies. If our trust is not in God, we fall in line behind these false "leaders" and believe their lies. We give them our allegiance. This is where we are now. The people who killed the French priest are not being led by a true religion, but by lies perpetrated by people who want power, wealth, weapons. The warring "parties" are those who put their trust in the mercy of God, and those who fall in line behind the liars. In my opinion, most of us have one foot in each camp, so the struggle is going on in each of us - our own hearts. We need to see our complicity in this madness and beg for mercy in order to find the peace and safety of God in our lives. We can then opt out of the lie. As Thomas Merton says in his famous essay, "The Root of War is Fear" -- " ... the duty of the Christian is to work for the abolition of war ... This is the great Christian task of our time ... "
J Cosgrove
2 years 2 months ago
The powers that be - those who stockpile money, weapons, and natural resources - will prey on the insecurity and fear in us..
Wars are between various groups of people. Who are these people that prey on the insecurity and fear in us? Who is "us"?
Beth Cioffoletti
2 years 2 months ago
I'll start with the weapons makers. Those who deal in the manufacture and sale of arms. "Us" is you and me, our families, our communities.


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