In his “State of the World” address to the diplomatic corp earlier today, Pope Francis condemned “deviant forms of religion” after the attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris last week.
After offering his continued condolences and prayers for the hundred-plus children “slaughtered with unspeakable brutality” a month ago in Pakistan, the Pope spoke of a “culture of rejection which severs the deepest and most authentic human bonds, leading to the breakdown of society and spawning violent and death.”
“We see painful evidence of this in the events reported daily in the news, not least the tragic slayings which took place in Paris a few days ago,” said the Pope.
Referencing his speech for the “2015 World Day of Peace,” Francis said, “Other people ‘are no longer regarded as beings of equal dignity, as brothers or sisters sharing a common humanity, but rather as objects.’ Losing their freedom, people become enslaved, wither to the latest fads, or to power, money, or even deviant forms of religion.”
These dangers, the Pope noted, dealt with the issue of today’s multiple forms of enslavement.
“All of them are born of a corrupt heart,” said Francis, “a heart incapable of recognizing and doing good, of pursuing peace.”
Pope Francis then went on denounce religious terrorism in Syria and Iraq, saying:
“This phenomenon is a consequence of the throwaway culture being applied to God. Religious fundamentalism, even before it eliminates human beings by perpetuating horrendous killings, eliminates God himself, turning him into a mere ideological pretext. In the face of such unjust aggression, which also strikes Christians and other ethnic and religious groups in the region, the Yazidis for example, a unanimous response is needed, one which, within the framework of international law, can end the spread of acts of violence, restore harmony and heal the deep wounds which the ongoing conflicts have caused.”
Francis also offered prayers for the victims of the Hebdo shootings during a morning mass last week, The Catholic Herald reported.
During the service in the Chapel of the Santa Marta residence in the Vatican, he said, “[The] terror attack in Paris brings to mind so much of the cruelty — human cruelty — so much terrorism, both isolated [incidents of] terrorism and of state terrorism. Of how much cruelty is man capable!”
“We pray … for the victims of this cruelty … and we pray also for the perpetrators of such cruelty, that the Lord might change their heart,” added the Pope.
Read the full text of Pope Francis’s speech to the diplomatic corps here.