Saturday, November 29, 2014

Pope Francis Visiting Turkey Decries ISIL Violence

Pope Francis is in the midst of a 3-day visit to Turkey.  Yesterday in Ankara he spoke to religious and political leaders in an address to the Presidency of Religious Affairs, the "Diyanet." (Full text of speech). He said in part:
Especially tragic is the situation in the Middle East, above all in Iraq and Syria. Everyone suffers the consequences of these conflicts, and the humanitarian situation is unbearable..... Particular concern arises from the fact that, owing mainly to an extremist and fundamentalist group, entire communities, especially – though not exclusively – Christians and Yazidis, have suffered and continue to suffer barbaric violence simply because of their ethnic and religious identity. They have been forcibly evicted from their homes.... This violence has also brought damage to sacred buildings, monuments, religious symbols and cultural patrimony, as if trying to erase every trace, every memory of the other.
As religious leaders, we are obliged to denounce all violations against human dignity and human rights.... [A]ny violence which seeks religious justification warrants the strongest condemnation because the Omnipotent is the God of life and peace. The world expects those who claim to adore God to be men and women of peace who are capable of living as brothers and sisters, regardless of ethnic, religious, cultural or ideological differences.