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‘It’s not right to equate Islam with violence,’ says Pope Francis

Speaking to journalists aboard his return flight from Kraków, Poland, on Sunday, Pope Francis said that violence exists in all religions, including Catholicism, and it cannot be pinned to one single religion.

“I do not like to speak of Islamic violence because everyday when I look through the papers, I see violence here in Italy," the Pope told reporters.

“And they are baptised Catholics. There are violent Catholics. If I speak of Islamic violence, I also have to speak of Catholic violence," he added.

Spending about 30 minutes with reporters and responding to six questions, Pope Francis was asked to elaborate on comments he had made flying to Poland on July 27 when he told the journalists that religions are not at war and want peace.

The Pope’s initial comment came in speaking about the murder July 26 of an elderly priest during Mass in a Catholic church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, France. Two men, armed with knives, entered the church during Mass. The attackers murdered 84-year-old Father Jacques Hamel, slitting his throat. ISIS later claimed responsibility for the murder.

Although the death of the French priest was committed in the name of Islam, the Pope said that it is unfair to label an entire religion violent because of the actions of a few fundamentalists.

“One thing is true. I believe that in almost all religions, there is always a small fundamentalist group. We have them, too," the Pope said. “When fundamentalism goes to the point of killing — you can even kill with the tongue. This is what St James says, but (you can kill) also with a knife. "

He added: “I do not think it is right to identify Islam with violence. This is not right and it is not true."

Instead, the Pope said, that those who choose to enter fundamentalists groups, such as the ISIS, do so because “they have been left empty" of ideals, work and values.

The Pope was also asked about accusations of sexual abuse made against Australian Cardinal George Pell, prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy.

Pope Francis said the accusations are unclear, but are in the hands of investigators. He also warned against deeming alleged accusations true or false before they are investigated thoroughly.

“If I would give a verdict for or against Cardinal Pell, it would not be good because I would judge prematurely," he said. “We should wait for justice and not judge beforehand (or) a verdict by the press, a verdict based on gossip."

Pope Francis was also asked if he was all right after he stumbled and fell during Mass outside the Marian shrine of Jasna Gora in Czestochowa July 28. He missed a step as he was blessing the altar and an image of Mary with incense.

“I was looking at the Madonna and I forgot about the step," he recalled. “I had the thurible in my hand and I just let myself fall. If I had tried to resist, then there would have been consequences."

Regarding his ability to speak and relate to young people, the Pope told journalists that he likes to talking them “because they tell me things that I never thought about before or that I never thought through."

He also emphasised the importance of a “dialogue between past and future" and said older and younger generations must learn to speak to and learn from each other.

“Listen to them, speak to them because they must learn from us and we must learn from them. That is how history is made, that is how we grow. Without closing them off, without censuring them," Pope Francis said.



  1. Patrick Gannon Reply

    All the Abrahamic religions are equated with violence. All of their sacred texts have passages calling upon the faithful to kill the unbelievers. Each of these faiths insists that it is the true faith and the others are false, and their followers will be punished. In order for any religion to be right, all others must be wrong. There is no way forward to peace with this mindset. As long as the mainstream religions insist that their ancient, sexist, racist, primitive books are holy, sacred, inspired or the literal word of its god, then those who carry out the words within those books are not terrorists – they are righteous; and the violence will go on and on and on…
    There is no longer any excuse for it. The foundation for the Abrahamic religions has been washed out. There was no six day creation, no two-person DNA bottleneck, no global flood, no mass Exodus from Egypt and no Israelite invasion and genocide in Canaan. These things are beyond reasonable doubt, and without these things, there is nothing else upon which the Abrahamic gods can continue to exist.
    Would the RCC equate Islam with violence if Jihadists blew up the Vatican?

  2. Doug Reply

    Someone please inform this bonehead that when Catholics are violent, it’s because they are acting in opposition to and in defiance of their theology. When Muslims are violent, it’s because they are acting iwith loyalty to their ideology. Violent Muslims are not “radical” and they are not “extremists.” They are loyal to Islam’s teachings !!

    1. Patrick Gannon Reply

      I’m not sure who you are referring to as a “bonehead” – perhaps the Pope? When Catholics are violent, they are not acting in opposition to and in defiance of their theology. Catholics embrace the OT as sacred texts, and the OT is very clear that non-believers who try to convert the faithful should be killed, and everyone in their villages with them. There was plenty of justification in the OT and NT for the Inquisitions and Pogroms of the RCC. The RCC used the bible to justify forced conversions of Jews, as well as countless indigenous peoples in Africa, Australia, the America’s, etc. It’s completely disingenuous to insist that Catholic theology is peaceful. We need only look back a short time in history. I fully agree that violent Muslims are not radicals, they are righteous according to their texts, but the same is true of violent Catholics, and the RCC supported that violence for many centuries before Christians finally began to tire of the killing in the name of their god. Muslims have not gotten to that stage yet, given that they started 500+ years later. The problem is that while they act out the exact same thing Christianity went through, they do it with far more lethal weapons.

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