Pope Francis came out Monday and condemned radical Islamist attacks as “homicidal madness” and urged political authorities to seek peace not only for their own citizens, but for the world.
In remarks to the Vatican diplomatic corps, Francis said, “Sadly, we are conscious that even today, religious experience, rather than fostering openness to others, can be used at times as a pretext for rejection, marginalization and violence,” adding:
I think particularly of the fundamentalist-inspired terrorism that in the past year has also reaped numerous victims throughout the world: in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Belgium, Burkina Faso, Egypt, France, Germany, Jordan, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, the United States of America, Tunisia and Turkey. These are vile acts that use children to kill, as in Nigeria, or target people at prayer, as in the Coptic Cathedral of Cairo, or travelers or workers, as in Brussels, or passers-by in the streets of cities like Nice and Berlin, or simply people celebrating the arrival of the new year, as in Istanbul.
“We are dealing with a homicidal madness which misuses God’s name in order to disseminate death, in a play for domination and power,” he continued.
Francis appealed to “all religious authorities to join in reaffirming unequivocally that one can never kill in God’s name.”
“Fundamentalist terrorism is the fruit of a profound spiritual poverty, and often is linked to significant social poverty,” he said. “It can only be fully defeated with the joint contribution of religious and political leaders.”