runs false headline claiming Francis has issued call to arms in Iraq runs false headline claiming Francis has issued call to arms in Iraq August 11, 2014

This headline is dangerously and recklessly false: Pope Francis calls for ARMED RESPONSE to defend Christians from Genocide – Middle East -…

No. He has not:

Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., said that Pope Francis “urgently calls on the international community to protect all those affected by the violence and to guarantee all necessary assistance – especially the most urgently needed aid – to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes.”

The Pope noted that their fate “depends entirely on the solidarity of others.”

And, by the way, “there is currently no credible evidence to support” the claim that ISIS is beheading children in Iraq, so thank God for that at least.  We’ve been stampeded to war once.  Let’s not let it happen again so easily.

Update:  Looks like they edited the headline to make it more accurate.  Good.

Also, be aware that “stories about child beheadings are not substantiated” is not tantamount to “ISIS indistinguishable from Kiwanis Club”.  I have no doubt that they are committing atrocities, including cutting children in half, according to an Anglican priest who baptized a victim.  My point is simply that it becomes easy, with an enemy as monstrous as this, to believe every news report and lose touch with reality.  That’s a bad way to go into a war, if into a war we go.

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  • Dave G.

    It’s a strange thing. I watched Chris Cuomo on CNN the other morning. He was interviewing some fellow from the Vatican. He has been all about pushing for support for military action. He kept trying to get the fellow to say that Pope Francis would, in this case, support an armed response. Just thought it was interesting.

  • KM

    Thanks for this, Mark.

    Every time the media starts hyping a story I have to ask myself, “What’s the agenda? What is the purpose behind this?”

    It seems incredible how, just a week ago when pictures of dead and injured children in Gaza were shown by various news outlets, the general reaction was “meh – just Hamas propaganda and telegenically dead Palestinians. No evil here. That’s just war. Move along now.” Yet just a week later, pictures of supposedly beheaded children from Iraq were showing up with a battle cry against ISIS and Iraq.

    Yes, ISIS is evil, but evil in its various forms has been around for awhile now. Yes, Christians and many others are under attack. They need our help and constant prayers.

    • mitchd

      One, Christians and others are not attacking ISIS in Iraq. Hamas is launching rockets into Israel and hiding behind civilians. Two is your response to this evil merely to pray and hope they go away? If ever there was a just cause to use force it is this against this kind of evil that is ISIS. There is no diplomatic solution to ISIS.

      • Not only that, but our OWN GOVERNMENT is passing laws that strip away religious freedoms, and want Faithful to pay for abortion. Thus the exact same thing ISIS is doing but with a PEN. We have ignored it and hoped it just went away for to long…

        • kenofken

          Right. Your plight in a plural democracy is every bit the same as that of ISIS’s victims. Maybe if we air drop more bottled water on Syrian and Iraqi Christians they can cry you a river…..

          • We haven’t had a plural democracy in over 70 years. We’ve had Hudge and Grudge fighting in public and washing each other’s backs in private. I find it interesting that I’ve been reading these stories about ISIS for a month now, and only in the last 48 hours has the U.S. Government seen fit to respond.

            • kenofken

              I bet if we looked hard enough, we could turn up an Iraqi Christian or Yazidi willing to trade places with you.

              • I forgot Mark had a huge supply of trolls.

                • Petey

                  you contain multitudes.

              • I’m sure. But the point is, if the United States is a democracy, then so was Iraq under Saddam Hussien

      • KM

        Solution is to get the refugees out of there, with help of the international community, and send food and aid.

        • mitchd

          That would be ideal but how do you get them away from the people trying to cut their heads off? We need an international force to go in there and be a firewall so these folks can be evacuated.

          • KM

            Yes, if it comes to that, self-defense would be justified when protecting innocents and getting them to safety.

        • AquinasMan

          Don’t these people have a God-given right to their homeland? “Well, it was a nice 4500 year run for you people. In fairness, Hamas or something. Step over to the right and we’ll get you settled into your new future of exile.”

  • Timothy

    I am not advocating military action, but as to the “no credible evidence…”

    Are eyewitness accounts not enough?

    “I’m almost in tears because I’ve just had somebody in my room whose little child was cut in half,” Anglican Canon Andrew White of St. George’s Church told the Anglican Communion News Service Friday. “I baptized his child in my church in Baghdad. This little boy, they named him after me — he was called Andrew.”

    • chezami

      I would not be surprised by any of this. I’m simply noting that the beheading stories appear to be manufactured. That doesn’t mean these guy are not committing other atrocities. My point is, don’t believe everything you hear instantly. The first casualty of war is Truth.

      • kenofken

        The run-up to both Gulf wars were bursting at the seams with lurid tales of baby massacres which grew exponentially with every telling. They were propagated by fairly sophisticated public relations campaigns invariably funded by goverment in exile men who had an obvious interest in stirring the U.S. to war and clearing their path for a shot at being the next dictator. Their interest meshed very nicely with those of the intelligence agencies and presidents ginning up cause for war and the media, who uncritically lapped up such stories for their own ratings. Atrocity propaganda is nothing new of course. In WWI, the Brit’s spin campaign had the Kaiser’s troops bayonetting untold numbers of infants, cutting their hands of, even eating them! Supposedly some Canadian was crucified by Germans on bayonets…All of these stories had “eyewitnesses” whose accounts never even remotely aligned with each other or any plausible scenario in reality. There are real atrocities that take place in war, and ISIS has plenty of real ones to its name. The lurid over-the-top tales play people for fools and into useless wars, and they diminish the horror of the real atrocities.

  • Frank Gibbons
    • Sheila C.

      This bothered me — two cardinals spoke favorably about military action, not “the Vatican.” The Vatican itself has no official stance; that would have been useful to mention.

  • KM has an article which you can google called “I.S.I.S. and the Western media: Groping each other in public like a Kardashian Thanksgiving” by Gary Brecher. The author calls the media hyperventilating a PR stunt for ISIS. (He calls ISIS the “Caliphate of Loud-Talking.”) I’m not going to link the article since it’s at a secular site, and because it downplays ISIS too much, but it’s interesting reading because it runs counter to the mainstream hype.

  • Mark – this sounds familiar – (From August 7th) and this from the Associated Press who I wouldn’t trust as far as I could spit – Clearly, there is lack of coopration between the central government and the Regional Autonomous Government,” he wrote. “This ‘vacuum’ is profited by the ISIS to impose their rule and terror. There is a need of international support and a professional, well-equipped army. The situation is going from bad to worse.”

    Patriarch Sako concluded his letter: “We appeal with sadness and pain to the conscience of all and all people of good will and the United Nations and the European Union, to save these innocent persons from death. We hope it is not too late.”

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

  • There is overwhelming PROOF this is taking place. The Truth speaks as He is. We don’t need HYPE to confuse any further. Help IS needed! But not at the expense of the Truth.

    • kenofken

      There was overwhelming PROOF that Iraq had vast stores of chemical weapons and was an immanent threat to all of humanity.

      • And they had them. I’m not here to debate. Rather than create more distractions, how about praying for the conversion of the world.

        • HornOrSilk

          No, they did not have them in GW’s invasion. More importantly, there is a lot of fake news being spread right now, trying to make the situation worse.

          IMO, they don’t have to be beheading (and all the other exaggerated claims spreading on the net) for the situation to be serious enough for a defensive action. Just war principles must be followed: seek as limited an offense as possible for a just outcome (to help get those currently at risk to safety), with proportional actions that are likely to succeed, with charity even to the enemies (even if they don’t show it back; we have always been required to pray for them, to seek their metanoia, to wish them well even if they don’t wish us well). We must not go seeking revenge or blood; just protection, limiting our actions, and if we can find a way to do it without bloodshed, we must do it that way.

          • My husband served in Iraq in 05. Yeah… They NEVER had um.. (eyeroll)
            Pray – Isis seizes former chemical weapons plant in Iraq
            US plays down threat as Iraq says Muthanna loss means it will be unable to fulfil obligations to destroy chemical weapons

            • HornOrSilk

              How does your husband serving in Iraq in 2005 show they had WMDs? What level of authority in the military did he have? Was he just a grunt being told the typical propaganda?

              “Former chemical weapons plant” means — it isn’t a chemical weapons plant now. Saying “they once had chemical weapons” when we were supplying them is not to say he had them when Bush decided to invade Iraq.

              The Church denounced the war in Iraq, before the war even started. What the Church warned about (as with others who denounced the war drums at the time) has happened. I will stay with the pro-life, anti-invasion teachings of the Church.

              • NEVER Having means NEVER Having – Say what you mean. THEY had them. My original comment was NOT directed to you. What my husbands MOS & Rank were are none of your business. HE was there. The media at that time NEVER covered most of what took place and THUS I became a Military Blogger so people would know. Are we done playing semantics here?

                • HornOrSilk

                  They had them in the distant past. They didn’t have them when we invaded. They never had them during the war. That is the point. There was no WMDS. Even if they had them, it was NOT enough reason for war. So, not only was the cause a lie, it was not enough for a just war to be waged. The Catholic Church was clear on this: the war was unjust, we were invaders, those involved in the war are involved with grave sin. How culpable the individuals are, I do not know, but the war itself needs penance from the whole of the US, and those who went gun-ho for it, even more.

                  War is to be mourned. War is a defeat of life. We must look beyond war when we can, use it as a last resort, with just proportionate means, with a likelihood of success. There was no likelihood of success (it was known the chaos we would make), the means was excessive, and the motives unjust. Sorry, the war was a thing of evil. And the evil created more evil. Don’t go looking for scapegoats.

                  And if you don’t want me to bring up your husband’s rank and qualifications, then don’t try to use him as proof you are right. When you use him as a source, the questions come.

                  • We never gave them the chance to use them

                    • A WMDS can be a shoe – think outside the box. NO. I’m no war monger. As a matter of FACT I gave up Military/ Political Blogging and became a Third Order Carmelite after a serious Conversion of Heart. Like I said. Pray

                    • HornOrSilk

                      Yes. They have shoes. So they can thrown them at Bush. WMDS. This is a new low for WMDS. Basically, because people exist, someone in Iraq could create some sort of bomb, so it’s all WMDS.

                      1) Even if there were WMDS in Iraq, that isn’t just cause for an invasion. Just war theory, as the Pope said, does not know pre-emptive strike. And just because someone we like has weapons we wish they didn’t have, that doesn’t justify war.

                      2) Many times there would be a claim of weapons found which would then later be said was a false report. Nice try.

             The WMDS under discussion were an active and massive program which supposedly included nukes. Didn’t exist. But even if did, that doesn’t a just war make. Follow the Church not the bloodthirsty.


                  • Look at the date… Iraqi Chemical Stash Uncovered
                    Washington Post Foreign Service
                    Sunday, August 14, 2005 – MANY MANY times went unreported.

      • Winefred


  • Quote from Catholic online: “On Sunday, Pope Francis said he held “dismay and disbelief” over what is happening in Iraq.
    The Catholic He called the Islamic State fighters terrorists and said there was a need for “a professional, well-equipped army.”

    “The situation is going from bad to worse,” he warned.

    Meanwhile, Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako of Baghdad said, “There is a need of international support and a professional, well-equipped army. The situation is going from bad to worse.”

    Pope Francis and Patriarch Sako are not the only clerics calling for swift and decisive action to end the genocide in Iraq. The Episcopal Vicar of Iraq, Canon Andrew White, managed to visit the town of Qaraqosh under cover and personally assess the situation in that community following Islamic State capture. ”
    . – Editing Issue. Looked as if Pope Francis had said it, when it was Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako of Baghdad

  • KM

    Pope Francis used unusually strong language to condemn the actions of Islamists in their continuing campaign against minorities in Iraq on Sunday and called for an end to violence in the name of God.

    …the pope deplored reports of “thousands of people, including many Christians, driven from their homes in a brutal manner; children dying of thirst and hunger in their flight; women kidnapped; people massacred; [and] violence of every kind.”

    He added: “All this gravely offends God and humanity. Hatred is not to be carried in the name of God. War is not to be waged in the name of God.”

    In an apparent reference to the US-led air campaign to deliver relief to the civilians fleeing Isis, Francis said: “I thank those who, with courage, are bringing succour to these brothers and sisters, and I am confident that an effective political solution on both the international and the local levels may be found to stop these crimes and re-establish [the rule of] law.”

    On Friday, the pope named Cardinal Fernando Filoni as his personal envoy to Iraq. Plans are also being made for a meeting in Rome, probably in September, of all the Vatican’s diplomatic representatives in the region. The aim is to organise support for those who have been forced to flee the jihadists.

    “I believe [Pope] John Paul II was right when he warned the political leaders at that time to rediscover the paths of a peace that was not [found] and for [the lack of which] we are suffering these consequences today.”

    The pope also discussed the fighting in Gaza, which he described as “a war that cuts down innocent victims and does nothing but worsen the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians”.

    He also mentioned the battle against Ebola, which has killed close to 1,000 people in west Africa, calling on his followers to “pray for the victims of the Ebola virus and for those who are fighting to stop it”.

  • Amen

  • AquinasMan

    And, by the way, “there is currently no credible evidence to support” the claim that ISIS is beheading children in Iraq, so thank God for that at least. We’ve been stampeded to war once. Let’s not let it happen again so easily.

    1) I don’t think anyone is being stampeded to war. Either atrocities are being committed or everyone reporting this vicious persecution is a filthy liar. You only have to see a young man’s head getting sawed off once on youtube to quickly put behind the notion that pacifism is a worthy foe of this kind of evil.

    2) The salient point, I think, about the child-beheading story (true or not) is that people sense that it is absolutely feasible with this bunch. And not just a few people. I haven’t seen anyone respond, “No. Beheading children? No, not ISIS. I just can’t — these guys had a table at Comic-Con. They were great. Lots of crucifixion, sure. Rape, okay I’ll buy that. But no way they would behead a child.” It rings true because there’s plenty of supporting evidence that these guys came charging straight out of Mordor.

    3) With regard to point #2, I don’t want to it to sound like I think it’s okay to believe a tall-tale, if the truth is otherwise. But we still have a bunch of “maroons” who think the Holocaust was just a severe bout of sensationalism run amok. I’m concerned that the next response to this crisis will be — “Well, you know, it’s just those crazy Chaldeans — they exaggerate. Everyone knows that.”

    4) I often think of the Lord’s words to Saint Faustina, to the effect that “now” is the time of mercy, which will give way to the time of justice. I don’t know how long “now” is, but it’s sure gettin’ kinda justice-y out there.

  • HornOrSilk

    What is interesting (and sad) are the comments on, for the people think the answer is for Christianity to follow the example of the enemy and be militant. Defensive, limited posture is one thing. Seeing military might to “spread the faith” is another. War must be a last resort and something mourned; bloodthirst is not Christian.

    • AquinasMan

      This is a pretty clear directive to Peter (and all his successors, and the whole Church, for that matter):

      “Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its sheath, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot call upon my Father and he will not provide me at this moment with more than twelve legions of angels?”‘

      I’m not much of a pacifist, m’self, but the Church is not a military force. Yes, we have the Swiss Guard. Yes, we have the Battle of Lepanto. But that was a last resort. And guess Who provided the twelve legions of angels for that rout?

      I’m guilty as everyone else who sees the horrors taking place and wants it eradicated NOW by whatever means necessary — and with the full imprimatur of Francis. There’s no doubt ISIS needs to be destroyed, but the Church, as you eloquently put it, sees war as something to be mourned, not yearned for.

      • HornOrSilk

        I’m a pacifist, but not an absolutist with pacifism — which is I think the problem with many pacifists is their absolutism. Just War theory was created to help limit wars, and yet also show, at times it is the moral thing to do (when all conditions apply), not because the killing in it is good, but the collective sin of non-action would be a greater sin (and, once a war is properly waged and over, there is an obligation to work for peace and even acknowledge that the just war itself has sin in it, as per the canons which said soldiers returning from war who killed in the war had penance to do — which does not say they are damned, but yet, like David before, being touched by blood has spiritual consequences).

  • HornOrSilk it’s funny they are calling Romney a “prophet” now. Seriously?

  • Mark S. (not for Shea)

    I’m not familiar with Are they one of those sites that is really Republican first, Catholic second? A very quick glance through their front page articles makes me suspect so, but again, I’m not familiar with the site.
    ISIS meets every conceivable definition of “the bad guys” in fact and fiction. No denying that. But I’m honestly not sure what we should do, other than pray. Our struggle is not against flesh and blood.

    • HornOrSilk

      I have seen their online listing of saints before, and a few other articles, which all seemed good. But I am not too familiar with their “news” and I too find their news suspect. I wonder how long it has been on their site, and who provides it; I suspect at least that section is Republican first. I mean, who in their right mind would call Romney a prophet?!

    • Alma Peregrina

      “Are they one of those sites that is really Republican first, Catholic second?”

      They are (at least they were some years ago when I read them more regularly)…
      … even though they’re not of the worst kind.

    • KM

      Who are the people that run anyway? I see their contact info is in Bakersfield, California, and that they dedicate their site to the Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico. It has helpful saint info but what turns me off immediately is the tabloid Drudge-like feel to it, especially with the graphic “death-porn” pictures and links. Also it has a “Singles” tab so people can find love/dates.

    • Petey

      “Republican first, Catholic second”

      nail on head

  • Winefred

    If this headline is false, I’m sorry to hear it. I thought for moment that Pope Francis was feeling solidarity with some of his more glorious medieval predecessors, who knew a barbarian enemy when they saw one. Fortunately, these psychopaths always overplay their hand — they did it in Iraq (where Al Qaeda murdered and dismembered whole families of their co-religionists who would not join them), to such an extent that most of the people started fighting alongside the coalition instead of against it. And they are doing it again, except this time the victims have no military allies to help them. If Francis actually called for the military defense of the innocent, good for him — keep it up.

  • Christian

    This article is false in saying there is no credible evidence regarding the beheading of children.

    Warning you will see children killed if you look at the

    I find it amazing how this is not more well known. Have people not seen the pictures of the dead?

  • Christian

    The above article said – And, by the way, “there is currently no credible evidence to support” the claim that ISIS is beheading children in Iraq, so thank God for that at least.” If this were so how do you explain the body of the headless child in the following link?

  • KM

    To “Christian” below:

    “[Re]…the picture of the headless girl shown on Catholic Online. The story about the girl goes back to 2013. It’s claimed she is a Muslim Syrian girl named Fatima Meghlaj and that she was decapitated when Syrian forces shelled her home.”

    “Catholic Online, which is not officially connected to the Catholic Church, has only one picture that could be of a beheaded child. But there is no way to know whether it is real or whether it occurred in Iraq. There is no source or context for the photos and the story is credited to “News Consortium.”

    But as Mark said in his post, “be aware that “stories about child beheadings are not substantiated” is not tantamount to “ISIS indistinguishable from Kiwanis Club”.”

  • Francis Young

    Atrocities are being committed, but CNN and the BBC do not have an outside broadcast van there.

    Thousands have been murdered, raped and driven from their homes.

    These are well documented from bishops and priests and aid agencies. Unlike Thomas, I am not going to wait until I can put my hand in the side of a slaughtered child before I act.

    Just war must meet five conditions. Consult the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and see if the five are met.

    • HornOrSilk

      Just war isn’t just, “There is great evil being done, we can just go in and do whatever we want.” Many of the conditions can’t be known until we know the battle plan and the intention and treatment even of the enemy.

  • Laura Paxton

    My problem is that I cannot count the number of credible pictures I have seen of children with their heads blown off. I’ve seen it with my own eyes more than I wish I’d see anything so horrific in my lifetime. This stuff really can’t be photoshopped easily, either, and why would it be. I haven’t wanted to see the pics. But, now I’m glad I didn’t block or report them because I feel a great need to assemble them. The author of the article this blog links to who asserts this isn’t happening could possibly be anti-Catholic and have vested interests in other points of view. 🙁