Vatican condemns terrorism of Islamic State, rejects war as solution

Vatican condemns terrorism of Islamic State, rejects war as solution

The Vatican summit today on the Middle East heard a strong call to protect Christian minorities, but also a strong rejection of war as a solution to the situation in Syria and Iraq.

Pope Francis denounced what he called “terrorism on a scale that previously was unimaginable.”

The Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, was more specific, condemning Islamic State fundamentalists for “unprecedented atrocities.” He also said Muslim leaders have a responsibility to publicly denounce the goals and activities of the so-called Islamic State. More broadly, Parolin said the separation of religion and state was an idea that should be developed in the Muslim world.

Parolin directly addressed the question of “the use of force to stop aggression and to protect Christians and other groups that are victims of persecution.” He said action to stop unjust aggression was legitimate, but needed to be carried out “in respect of international law.”

“Nevertheless, it is clearly seen that one cannot entrust the resolution of the problem to a solely military response. The problem needs to be faced more profoundly, starting with the causes that are at its origin and that are exploited by the fundamentalist ideology. As far as the so-called Islamic State is concerned, attention should also be given to the sources that support its terrorist activities through more or less clear political backing, as well as through the illegal commerce of oil and the furnishing of arms and technology,” he said.

There’s also a very important line in Parolin’s speech aimed at the local church leaders in the Middle East, regarding political arrangements with governing authorities. The leaders of the small Christian flocks, he said, are called on to cooperate with Muslims and act as peace-builders, “without ceding to the temptation of seeking protection or defense by political or military authorities of the day, in order to ‘guarantee’ their own survival.”

Here are a few other important passages (my translation, and my emphases) of the wide-ranging address by Cardinal Parolin to the one-day meeting of cardinals and patriarchs:

"We have listened with emotion and great concern to the testimony about unprecedented atrocities perpetrated by more than one party in the region, but in particular by the fundamentalists of the group that calls itself the Islamic State, an entity that violates law and adopts terroristic methods in an effort to expand its power: mass killings, decapitations of persons who think differently, the sale of women, enrollment of children in combat, and destruction of places of worship."


"In the concrete case of the so-called Islamic State, a particular responsibility falls on Muslim leaders, not only to distance themselves from the pretension of calling itself 'Islamic State' and forming a caliphate, but also to condemn more generally the killing of a person for religious reasons...."

"Faced with the present challenges, attention must go to the roots of the problems, recognize also the errors of the past and try to favor a future of peace and development for the region, focusing on the good of the person and the common good. Experience has demonstrated that the choice of war, instead of dialogue and negotiation, multiplies the suffering of the entire population of the Middle East. The way of violence only leads to destruction; the way of peace leads to hope and progress. The first urgent step for the good of the population of Syria, Iraq and the entire Middle East is to put down the weapons and to dialogue."

"In the specific case of violations and abuses committed by the so-called Islamic State, the international community, through the United Nations and the structures established for such emergencies, should take action in order to prevent possible new acts of genocide and to assist the numerous refugees. It seems opportune that the states in the region be directly involved, together with the rest of the international community, in the actions to be undertaken, with the awareness that this is not a matter of protecting a particular religious community or a particular ethnic group, but persons who are part of the human family and whose fundamental rights are being systematically violated."


7 comments (Add your own)

1. Wesley Vincent wrote:
Cardinal Parolin seems to not understand that based on the Quran and Hadith, the ISIS is practicing Mohammad's teaching. A cursory reading of the Quran and a review of Islamic scholars' commentary on the Hadith easily display such proof. Why are Western and Catholic leaders so ready to dismiss the true contrast between Christianity and Islam by persisting with fraudulent use of the term "fundamentalism" and holding to the myth that Islam is just as concerned as Christianity with peace, justice and human rights?

Mon, October 20, 2014 @ 9:25 AM

2. D.A.Howard wrote:
Addressing these causes take decades. What do you do until then? War. It is a short-term solution. As the Secretary of State said,"Nevertheless, it is clearly seen that one cannot entrust the resolution of the problem to a solely military response." So a military response is not the only solution, but it is part of the solution.

Mon, October 20, 2014 @ 3:06 PM

3. Blue wrote:
This approach seems misguided insofar as it does not consider the nature and objectives of the enemy (i.e., ISIS). The nature of this particular beast requires the elimination of all other religions and to do so is its main objective. Thus, "dialogue" is doomed because it involves trying to persuade one party to stop being itself.

If you want to dialogue with a dog, you're going to have to bark.

Mon, October 20, 2014 @ 3:25 PM

4. Javier H. von Sydow wrote:
Political authorities worldwide, with armies and huge financial power behind them, have not had the guts that these bishops have had to call for international action through the United Nations' Security Council. And I wouldn't want to believe that the cheaper oil the ISIL is selling finds its way to western markets (have you noticed how gas is cheaper at the pump, lately?). Are we accomplices of the beheadings? It is a legitimate political question. Where's the answer?

Mon, October 20, 2014 @ 7:15 PM

5. Leo Clearn wrote:
What will happen over the next year might be just what the Holy Spirit has been waiting for. The world's bishops, now given permission and freedom to talk and to listen to each other, just might start to do the same with their flocks back home. Once they really listen to good people dealing with the struggles and aftermath of human frailty, their own hearts might warm to the kind of mature mercy championed by Pope Francis. This time next year: bring it on!

Tue, October 21, 2014 @ 4:04 AM

6. Joe Orawczyk wrote:
For what it's worth, I was baptized Roman Catholic but consider myself a deist, as I am not wise enough to assert any one religion is superior (or subordinate) to any other religion. All religions have their value and their challenges. And while I've rejected all religions, I can't help but love this pope.

I perceived the last pope as a destructive hindrance to the Church because of his attempts to protect the institution of the Church over the souls of the children victimized by some clergy. I grasp that if I suffered from the desire for sexual relations with innocent children then the best place to seek to fulfill such desire would be in an institution founded on forgiveness. But to sacrifice the souls of these victims under the guise of protecting the Church undermines the institution itself.

I’ve not bothered to read the teachings of religious leaders prior to Pope France’s APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION, which I found impressive for its positive views and understanding of the challenges faced by the average person.

As to the topic of marriage, Anna and I were married thirty some years ago in a chapel in Las Vegas. We were excluded from being wed in our local Catholic Church because of my religious views – or lack thereof. Leading by example of the Church rejecting our union, I’ve returned the favor.

We’ve two adult children; one is a confirmed Catholic while the other is not. Everyone in our family is heterosexual. That said, and as a former U.S. Marine who took a oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the USA, it is my view that not only do Americans enjoy an inalienable right to pursue happiness, we also have the right to decide for ourselves what it is that makes us happy. And if what makes you happy is committing yourself in marriage to the one you love, you should be permitted to do so regardless of your gender, or your faith. Both of our two children agree with this concept.

In U.S. politics, we have a conservative Republican party and a liberal Democrat party. The first party excludes those who are different; the other is inclusive of all. It seems logical to me that the inclusive party will ultimately prevail by increasing its membership. Unless the conservative party accepts those who are different, it will suffer and be marginalized, as it is in California. Consider also, in his day, Jesus was a liberal.

While I remain a deist, the Church should take note that I am listening to this Pope, and cannot help but be impressed with his message of acceptance and love toward all of us, regardless of our sins.

Tue, October 21, 2014 @ 1:59 PM

7. bill bannon wrote:
A one day summit on the Mideast is not an honest endeavor. It was "going on record" while Cardinals were in town as having done something like the June prayer meeting the Pope held with two leaders that was followed by 2000 Hamas rockets and 2000 dead in Gaza....killed really by Hamas via human shield manipulation. No one there at the Vatican summit expects any of the warring parties in Syria and Iraq to read what they said on one day....or to donate one trillion dollars to eliminate the root cause of wars....inequality of income....combined with fundamentalism. The Vatican and the Pope have to drop the image building events. The normal world knows we just failed for decades to even protect children from our clergy. Only the Magisterium thinks that it has insight into security questions. Bombs just saved thousands in August from IS genocide....the Pope saying he would go to Iraq if necessary for peace ( he never went) saved no one. Stop the image work. We saw the ads for the uncola and three Popes then worked on the uninquisition. It's transparent.

Wed, October 22, 2014 @ 5:35 AM

Add a New Comment


Comment Guidelines: No HTML is allowed. Off-topic or inappropriate comments will be edited or deleted. Thanks.