Pope Francis told Mafia members they "are excommunicated" from the Catholic Church during a homily he delivered in Sibari on June 21, 2014.

Pope Francis has written to the president of Iraq, calling for an end to the “brutal suffering of Christians and other religious minorities” and urging political leaders to end the humanitarian crisis in the country. Creative Commons image by Christoph Wagener

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Francis wrote to the president of Iraq, calling for an end to the “brutal suffering of Christians and other religious minorities” and urging political leaders to end the humanitarian crisis in the country.

Francis said in his letter to Iraqi President Fouad Massoum:

“I appeal to you with my heart full of pain while I follow the brutal suffering of Christians and other religious minorities who are forced to leave their homes, as their places of worship are destroyed.”

Cardinal Fernando Filoni, the pope’s official envoy to Iraq, delivered the pope’s message during his recent trip to that country. The two met at the Vatican on Thursday (Aug. 21). The pope previously appealed to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to intervene to end the crisis.

Earlier this week, Francis revealed during a media conference with reporters that he was ready to travel to Iraq to try to find a solution to the ongoing violence.

The pope surprised many pundits when he endorsed military action to stop “unjust aggression” by Islamist militants and their attacks on religious minorities in Iraq.

“In these cases, where there is an unjust aggression, I can only say that it is licit to stop the unjust aggressor,” Francis said. “I underscore the verb ‘stop.’ I’m not saying ‘bomb’ or ‘make war,’ just ‘stop.’”

It was the clearest endorsement for using military force by a pope in at least 100 years.

Filoni, a former papal nuncio to Iraq and Jordan from 2001 to 2006, heads the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples at the Vatican. He has spent the past few days in Irbil supporting Christian refugees and also met Iraqi leaders in Baghdad.

On Wednesday (Aug. 20), the Italian Parliament backed Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s move to send military aid to Iraqi Kurds fighting the fundamentalist Islamic State militia in the country’s north.



  1. “”it is licit to stop the unjust aggressor,” Francis said”

    Yes. It is the MORAL thing to do.

    Thank you, Pope Francis for having a moment of courage
    and to stand for Humanity instead of affirming
    the spectacularly immoral Jesus:

    “If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also.” – JESUS (Luke 16:29)
    “I tell you, do not resist an evil person…” – JESUS (Matthew 5:39)

    Because it is wrong to sit back and let
    a serial killer invade your home and slaughter your family.

    To command – in the name of a God – that we must surrender and let
    our children be killed. That is evil.

    And Thank you, Pope, for also showing
    you have NO belief in that ‘Heaven’ nonsense – even for Martyrs!

    “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” – JESUS (Matthew 16:25)

    Now. Why not show us how you feel about Pedophile priests?

    “Drown them with a millstone” – JESUS
    (Okay. For once, Jesus said something moral.)

  2. The Pope is evidently not aware that:

    “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed. And this kingdom will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to ALL these kingdoms and it alone will stand forever.” (Daniel 2:44)

    According to Bible prophecy and history, God’s kingdom was established in the heavens with Jesus as ruling King in the year 1914, when Satan and his demons were hurled out of the heavens down to the earth (Revelation 12:1-12) and has since caused all humans great woe. This was also the beginning of the last days of this era. The First World War also started that year.

    Since those days, the good news of God’s kingdom as the ONLY hope for mankind is being preached about and taught to people of all nations before the end comes (Matthew 24:14).

    This good news of God’s kingdom is NOT being preached nor taught by the Pope nor the clergy of the Catholic Church. Instead, war and worldly politics are being endorsed in its place.

    As Jesus told his true followers or disciples, “By this all will know that you are my disciples, IF you have love among yourselves.” (John 13:35)

    True followers or disciples of Jesus will follow Jesus’ example of showing true love for their fellowman by preaching to them the “good news of God’s kingdom” as the only hope for all meek persons on earth.

    That kingdom will soon intervene in man’s affairs and bring an end to all of man’s corrupt governments, all wicked ones, sickness and disease, old age and death (Psalm 37:10,11; Revelation 21:1-4). :-D :-D :-D

      • JThomas,

        Yes! And who else is preaching the good news of God’s kingdom as the ONLY hope for meek mankind in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations before the end comes?? (Matthew 24:14).

        Instead of directing his prayer to God, that his kingdom come and his will be done in the heavens as it is on earth (Matthew 6:10), the Pope is appealing to an imperfect human ruler. That was the point I was making in my previous post.

  3. In addition to not wanting to live in the royal Apostolic Palace and the good sense of continuing to wear ordinary black shoes, Francis ought to eliminate many of the other royal trappings of the royal papacy, like sitting on chairs that are obvious thrones.

  4. The Great God Pan

    For a heart full of pain, I would recommend some Tums. But maybe Catholic doctrine dictates Rolaids or Mylanta instead? You wouldn’t want to pick the wrong one and end up burning in Hell for all eternity.

    • There is no place of fiery torment forever, just the common grave of mankind where the dead (good and bad) are asleep in death, not aware of anything at all (Ecclesiastes 9:5,10).

      Even Jesus was asleep in the grave for 3 days (Acts 2:31) and so was Lazarus, whom he resurrected from death (John 11:1-44).

      It is so aggravating that false religion misrepresents God, who is loving (1 John 4:78), merciful (James 5:11), powerful, wise and just (Romans. 11:33); and not someone who “torments” the wicked forever.

      • @Fran,

        “There is no place of fiery torment forever”

        You are just making up your religion into whatever you want it to be. Just like Islamists and Hindus, etc.

        The tragedy is that most Americans pay no attention
        to the consequences of following such nonsense and gibberish:

        “We will execute Foley tomorrow” – Islamic State in Iraq

        The price of pretending God exists is much too high.

        • Max,

          So you are upset that God does not torment the wicked ones forever, just as false religions worldwide teach?

          Thankfully, all false religions will soon be exposed for what they are, and the truth about God and his loving, just, merciful and righteous personality will shine through for everyone to see! :-D

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