Vatican Unambiguously Denounces and Condemns Unspeakable Jihadist Acts

Vatican rome picture

Public Catholic reader Ken brought this to my attention.

The Vatican has released a statement condemning the crimes against humanity that are occurring in the Middle East. The statement lists what it calls “unspeakable criminal acts … which bring shame on humanity,” including beheading, crucifying, abduction of women and girls as spoils of war, the barbaric practice of infibulation and forced conversions.

From the Vatican Website:

The whole world has witnessed with incredulity what is now called the “Restoration of the Caliphate,” which had been abolished on October 29,1923 by Kamal Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey. Opposition to this “restoration” by the majority of religious institutions and Muslim politicians has not prevented the “Islamic State” jihadists from committing and continuing to commit unspeakable criminal acts.

This Pontifical Council, together with all those engaged in interreligious dialogue, followers of all religions, and all men and women of good will, can only unambiguously denounce and condemn these practices which bring shame on humanity:

-the massacre of people on the sole basis of their religious affiliation;

-the despicable practice of beheading, crucifying and hanging bodies in public places;

-the choice imposed on Christians and Yezidis between conversion to Islam, payment of a tax (jizya) or forced exile;

-the forced expulsion of tens of thousands of people, including children, elderly, pregnant women and the sick;

-the abduction of girls and women belonging to the Yezidi and Christian communities as spoils of war (sabaya);

-the imposition of the barbaric practice of infibulation;

-the destruction of places of worship and Christian and Muslim burial places;

-the forced occupation or desecration of churches and monasteries;

-the removal of crucifixes and other Christian religious symbols as well as those of other

religious communities;

-the destruction of a priceless Christian religious and cultural heritage;

-indiscriminate violence aimed at terrorizing people to force them to surrender or flee.

No cause, and certainly no religion, can justify such barbarity. This constitutes an extremely serious offense to humanity and to God who is the Creator, as Pope Francis has often reminded us. We cannot forget, however, that Christians and Muslims have lived together – it is true with ups and downs – over the centuries, building a culture of peaceful coexistence and civilization of which they are proud. Moreover, it is on this basis that, in recent years, dialogue between Christians and Muslims has continued and intensified.

The dramatic plight of Christians, Yezidis and other religious communities and ethnic minorities in Iraq requires a clear and courageous stance on the part of religious leaders, especially Muslims, as well as those engaged in interreligious dialogue and all people of good will. All must be unanimous in condemning unequivocally these crimes and in denouncing the use of religion to justify them. If not, what credibility will religions, their followers and their leaders have? What credibility can the interreligious dialogue that we have patiently pursued over recent years have?

Religious leaders are also called to exercise their influence with the authorities to end these crimes, to punish those who commit them and to reestablish the rule of law throughout the land, ensuring the return home of those who have been displaced. While recalling the need for an ethical management of human societies, these same religious leaders must not fail to stress that the support, funding and arming of terrorism is morally reprehensible.

That said, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue is grateful to all those who have already raised their voices to denounce terrorism, especially that which uses religion to justify it.

Let us therefore unite our voices with that of Pope Francis: “May the God of peace stir up in each one of us a genuine desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence is never defeated by violence. Violence is defeated by peace. “

[01287-02.01] [Original text: French - working translation]

  • oregon nurse

    I am so happy to see this clear and unequivocal statement of the Church’s position.

    CNS also had this comment in their news article:
    “The Vatican called on Muslim
    leaders to condemn the “barbarity” and “unspeakable criminal acts” of
    Islamic State militants in Iraq, saying a failure to do so would
    jeopardize the future of interreligious dialogue.”
    Once again, I appreciate the clarity that the future of religious dialog comes with a caveat. Let’s see if the Muslim leaders the Vatican is referring to will step up and speak out. It will tell us a lot and I won’t be surprised if, like post 9/11, they are too afraid of retribution from fellow muslims to do so. .

    • Gordis85

      A great and much needed statement from our beloved Church. No one can ever say she did not speak out in defense of what is happening in Iraq or elsewhere. Papa Francis has been and will continue to be quite vocal on all fronts.

      In my opinion, should the leaders of the Muslim world remain silent after such a call from the Church…they have lost all credibility has has their religion “of peace.”

      I noticed some Muslim blogs on this website but have not seen any real posting about what is happening, does anyone here ask?

      Maybe I’m missing something?

  • pagansister

    Hope it helps. I have my doubts that those folks listen to anyone but themselves.

    • FW Ken

      This is aimed at Muslim leaders, imams and mullahs. They need to make loud public statements disowning the IS. Whether that helps or not, we will see. But it would be nice to see some fatwas issued.

  • AnneG

    That is leading from the front and supporting the Bishops and faithful.
    St Michael the Archangel, Defend us in Battle!

  • Elijah fan

    These Vatican denunciations are loved by ISIS who knows they need lots of media to recruit the young. All press is good press for terrorism because they attract only the marginalized and under employed and pathological.
    The ending quote citing Pope Francis’ ” Violence is never defeated by violence”…was unfortunate. Violence plus followup
    defeated Hitler …producing modern Germany who nows generously bails other Euro nations out when needed after the financial crises. Violence stopped Japan from enslaving China which was her plan. Japan now teaches us how to make good cars.
    Pope Francis is a dialogue first person or maybe dialogue only person which is good when two rational parties perceive things differently. But Christ did not dialogue first with the money changers who were filling the prayer space reserved for gentiles in the temple. Christ did not dialogue that is with obvious lawbreakers…but made a whip and drove said men out without a word of dialogue.
    Violence right now by US air strikes is protecting Erbil which would soon be another ISIS city right now without those recent strikes. ISIS is hiding its tanks etc now that the US is back in town. A lack of responding violence is why ISIS now owns Mosul and millions of dollars from Mosul banks and owns in fact US vehicles.

  • Mike Blackadder

    It’s a good statement, but the ‘violence is never defeated by violence’ comment doesn’t even make sense. How are ‘authorities’ supposed to bring these offenders to justice? By talking to them? Why is it OK for police officers to enforce law and order but not soldiers?

    • AnneG

      You are right. Absolute defeat is the only thing that will stop this group. And, yes, military violence was the only way to stop Hitler.


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