The sorrow for all that is happening in Iraq gives way to dismay and
disbelief, Pope Francis told the faithful gathered for the Angelus in St Peter's Square
on Sunday morning, 10 August. “The news
from Iraq leaves us
incredulous and alarmed”, he said from the window of the Apostolic Palace.
News which speaks of the flight of
thousands of people, among them so many Christians, pushed from their homes
with inconceivable violence, sent to die of hunger and thirst while seeking
asylum. Or even massacred inhumanely, with the claim of being acts in the name
Whereas, the Pontiff stated, all of this “grievously offends God and
grievously offends humanity. Hatred is not borne in the name of God! War is not
waged in the name of God!”. The Pope was very explicit in condemning any
attempt to interpret, and even worse to justify this escalation of violence as
if it were a religious war. It is instead a crime which continues to be
perpetuated toward one segment of humanity. For this Francis asks for courage
and hopes that “an effective political solution, internationally and locally,
can end these crimes and restore rights”. But he did not only ask for prayer,
he informed the faithful of having appointed Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect
of the Congregation for Evangelization of Peoples, as his Personal Envoy to
bring to those peoples the comfort of his closeness. That evening, as the Holy
See Press Office announced, he received the Cardinal at Santa Marta and reiterated to him the
sentiments he had publicly expressed many times in recent days. He gave
instructions to his Personal Envoy regarding the mission and entrusted him with
a sum of money to be used for emergency aid to the people hardest hit, as a
concrete sign of the solidarity of the Bishop of Rome and of his willingness to
participate in the efforts of institutions and people of good will in response
to the tragic situation.
Pope Francis has not forgotten, however, the other “innocent victims”,
especially the children, in Gaza
as a result of the war between Israelis and Palestinians. And in this case he
also asks the faithful to pray for the gift of peace.
Then, before speaking about his departure for Korea on Wednesday, 13 August, he
directed his thoughts to the victims of the Ebola epidemic.