“We must condemn all violence in the name of God” – Pope appeals to all religious leaders
Addressing the Tackling Violence Committed in the Name of Religion conference in the Vatican, Pope Francis reiterated what he said during his April 2017 visit to Egypt: “God, the lover of life, never ceases to love the man, and so he exhorts us to reject the way of violence.”
Above all and especially in our day, the Holy Father said that all religious leaders are called to respect this imperative, since, for all our need of the Absolute, it is essential that we reject any ‘absolutizing’ that would justify violence. He is the negation of every authentic religious expression.
Francis stressed that violence is the negation of every authentic religious expression. “We have an obligation to denounce violations of human dignity and human rights, to expose attempts to justify every form of hatred in the name of religion, and to condemn these attempts as idolatrous caricatures of God.”
Violence promoted and carried out in the name of religion can only discredit religion itself.
“Consequently, such violence must be condemned by all, and especially by genuinely religious persons, who know that God is always goodness, love and compassion and that in him there is no room for hatred, resentment or vengeance.”
The Pope said it among the greatest blasphemies to invoke God as justification for one’s own sins & crimes “in order to justify killing, mass murder, enslavement, exploitation in whatever form, oppression and persecution of individuals and entire populations.”
“The religious person knows that God is the Holy One and that no one can claim to use his name in order to perpetrate evil, the Pope said, appealing: “Every religious leader is called to unmask any attempt to manipulate God for ends that have nothing to do with him or his glory.”
Adherence to a particular religion, Francis emphasised, does not confer additional dignity and rights upon individuals, nor does non-adherence deny or diminish them. He encouraged all religious leaders to demonstrate that every human life is sacred, and deserves respect, esteem, compassion and solidarity, without regard for ethnicity, religion, culture, or ideological and political convictions.
There is a need, the Pope stressed, for a common commitment on the part of political authorities, religious leaders, teachers and those engaged in the fields of education, training and communications, “to warn all those tempted by perverse forms of misguided religiosity that these have nothing to do with the profession of a religion worthy of this name.”
This will help all those people of good will who seek God to encounter Him in truth, to encounter “the One who sets us free from fear, hatred and violence,” and who desires each person to use their creativity and energy to spread His plan of love and peace.”