ROME — As major global powers debate how to take the fight to ISIS in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks, Pope Francis on Thursday said that “the whole world is at war,” adding that Jesus weeps “because we have chosen the way of war, the way of hatred.”
The pontiff called those who fuel today’s conflicts “criminals” and “cursed.”
“When all the world is at war as it is today – piecemeal, a little here, a little there, and everywhere – there is no justification and God weeps,” he said. “Jesus weeps.”
The comments came during the pope’s daily Mass in the Casa Santa Marta, the Vatican residence where he lives.
“We are close to Christmas,” the pope said. “There will be lights, there will be parties, bright trees, even Nativity scenes – all decked out – while the world continues to wage war.”
“The world has not understood the way of peace,” he said.
According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis said the only things produced by today’s violence are “ruins, thousands of children with no education, so many innocent dead … and so much money in the pockets of gun-traffickers!”
Quoting Thursday’s Gospel, Francis said greed is an element in sustaining violence.
“War is the right choice for him who would serve wealth,” he said. “Let us build weapons, so that the economy will right itself somewhat, and let us go forward in pursuit of our interests.”
The pope also hailed “poor workers of peace who give their lives to help one person, who spend themselves utterly, and even give their lives,” offering the example of Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
Francis said that the “powerful and cynical” might wonder what she ever accomplished by “wasting” her life “helping others on their way to death,” saying that incomprehension illustrates that “we do not understand the path of peace.”
Pope Francis has denounced what he calls a “piecemeal world war” on multiple occasions, but he has also seemingly signaled understanding that the use of force may be necessary in response to terrorist movements with a global reach.
In August 2014, for instance Pope Francis flashed a cautious yellow light to a US-led coalition striking at ISIS targets, saying, “it’s legitimate to stop an unjust aggressor.”
Since then, the Vatican has openly supported the use of military force if it has an international warrant.
Last March the Vatican’s top diplomat at the United Nations in Geneva called for a coordinated international force to stop ISIS.
“We have to stop this kind of genocide,” said Italian Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican’s representative in Geneva. “Otherwise we’ll be crying out in the future about why we didn’t so something, why we allowed such a terrible tragedy to happen.”
In the wake of the attacks in Paris, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Italian Cardinal Pietro Parolin also supported a military intervention to disarm “an unjust aggressor.”