Pope Francis gave one of his most gripping interviews ever today. He covered a multitude of subjects, and you can read the whole thing here.
Among the revelations was his possible plan to visit northern Iraq or Kurdistan to comfort the many Christian and other refugees who are fleeing the bloodbath created by the ISIS jihadists in Iraq, who are murdering, raping and driving people from their homes. He spoke frankly about the need to stop these violent extremists. However, most news sources are reporting only a part of what he said, and implying that the Pope endorses the use of force; he didn’t quite say that. He certainly didn’t approve of unilateral U.S. action. Here is what he did say, uncut:
In these cases where there is an unjust aggression, I can only say this: it is licit to stop the unjust aggressor. I underline the verb: stop. I do not say bomb, make war, I say stop by some means. With what means can they be stopped? These have to be evaluated. To stop the unjust aggressor is licit.
But we must also have memory. How many times under this excuse of stopping an unjust aggressor the powers [that intervened] have taken control of peoples, and have made a true war of conquest.
One nation alone cannot judge how to stop an unjust aggressor. After the Second World War there was the idea of the United Nations. It is there that this should be discussed. Is there an unjust aggressor? It would seem there is. How do we stop him? Only that, nothing more
All of that is food for thought and prayer. But here is matter for pure rejoicing. Pope Francis may be coming to New York!
There were a few rumors previously that I hadn’t been aware of. But now there’s this:
Next year I would like to go to Philadelphia, for the meeting of the families. Then, I have been invited by the President of the United States to the American Congress. And also the Secretary General of the United Nations has also invited me to the Secretariat of the UN in New York. So maybe the three cities together.
One his way to Korea, he had actually confirmed the Philadelphia part, which has also been rumored for some time. But now he seems to be confirming the other two cities as well. If he does come, he will be the third Pope I will welcome to New York! (I also saw JPII in 1995 and Benedict in 2008).
And, from what I saw of his Asian World Youth Day talk, he’s been practicing his English! This trip should be really good.