ROME — Speaking aboard a plane en route back to Italy from Poland, the Roman Catholic leader Jorge Bergoglio, also known as Pope Francis, defended the Islamic religion and said that it is “not fair” to equate Islam with violence.
Bergoglio had been asked by reporters why he doesn’t speak against Islam when decrying terrorism, such as with the recent killing of a priest in France.
“I don’t like to talk about Islamic violence because every day when I look at the papers I see violence here in Italy— someone killing his girlfriend, someone killing his mother-in-law. These are baptized Catholics,” he said. “If I talk about Islamic violence, then I also have to talk of Catholic violence.”
“Not all Muslims are violent, just like not all Catholics are violent,” Bergoglio stated. “It’s like a mixed fruit salad. There is a bit of everything. There are violent people in all religions.”
He pointed to the Book of James, which talks about the tongue being harmful, and said that “fundamentalists” kill people with their mouths.
“I believe that in pretty much every religion there is always a small group of fundamentalists,” Bergoglio opined. “When fundamentalism comes to kill, it can kill with the language—the Apostle James says this, not me—and even with a knife, no?”
He also suggested that the global focus on obtaining wealth is likewise a form of terror.
“I know it dangerous to say this, but terrorism grows when there is no other option, and when money is made and it, instead of the person, is put at the center of the world economy,” Bergoglio said. “When you place at the center of the world economy the ‘god of money,’ that’s terrorism against all humanity.”
He stated that it is “not fair to identify Islam with violence and terrorism.”
“It’s not fair, and it’s not true,” Bergoglio asserted.
Mike Gendron of Proclaiming the Gospel Ministries in Plano, Texas told Christian News Network that while Bergoglio’s comments were partially true, he also discarded fact as well.
“The pope’s implication that not all Islam should be characterized as terrorists may be somewhat true. However, nearly all terrorist activity in the last 20 years has been carried out exclusively by Muslims,” he said. “This is not anyone’s opinion; this is a verifiable, indisputable, historical fact.”
Gendron found it odd that Bergoglio deflected from Islamic violence and used Scripture to state that “fundamentalists” commit terror with their tongues.
“For the pope to equate the horrendous terrorist activity of Islam to killing ‘with the language’ from James’ epistle is preposterous,” he opined. “How can beheading someone with a knife or burning people to death or destroying 3,000 lives in the World Trade Center be compared to insults and slander?”
Gendron said that when Bergoglio noted that he would have to speak of Catholic violence if he points to Islamic violence—he should do just that, to acknowledge the violent history of Roman Catholics against Protestants and unbelievers.
“Personally, I wish the pope would speak of the Roman Catholic Church’s history of violence,” he stated. “His Church tortured, mutilated, murdered and destroyed millions of people who would not bow their knee to Catholic popes during the dark ages and the Inquisition. The wickedness perpetrated against humanity by the pope’s religion is beyond comprehension.”
“Clearly, the pope’s remarks can be attributed to his desire to unite all religions under the power and authority of the papacy,” Gendron said. “By his flattering speech he continues to build bridges to Islam. His ultimate goal is to rebuild the religious tower of Babel.”