Tags: Guantanamo | ISIS | Paris | Pope Francis

Pope: Religious Fundamentalism 'Denial of God'

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Monday, 12 Jan 2015 01:01 PM Current | Bio | Archive

In the face of the attacks in Paris last week and the continuing menace of ISIS, Pope Francis has warned that religious fundamentalism is part of a “throwaway culture” that, in eliminating God, leads to “horrendous” violence and death.

During his annual “state of the world” address to diplomats accredited to the Holy See Jan. 12th, the pontiff said the spread of fundamentalist terrorism “is a consequence of the throwaway culture being applied to God.”

“Religious fundamentalism, even before it eliminates human beings by perpetrating horrendous killings, eliminates God himself, turning him into a mere ideological pretext,” he warned. Francis also made a point of calling on all Muslims to condemn extremist violence.

The notion that rejecting God leads to violence is a continuation of a central theme of Benedict XVI’s pontificate. Speaking in Assisi in 2011, the Pope emeritus said “the denial of God has led to much cruelty and to a degree of violence that knows no bounds.” His famous 2006 Regensburg lecture also warned of a clash between Islamic fundamentalism and a West dominated by positivist thinking, both of which ultimately reject God.

The “throwaway culture” is a constant theme of Francis which he believes, together with a “culture of enslavement”, is leading to a “never-ending spread of conflicts.” Such a culture “spares no one: nature, human beings, even God himself,” Francis continued, adding that it’s giving rise to a world “constantly torn by tensions and conflicts of every sort.”

Every conflict and war, he said, “is emblematic of a throwaway culture, since people’s lives are deliberately crushed by those in power.”

And, he reiterated his belief that the world is experiencing a “true world war fought piecemeal” which is affecting different areas of the world with varying “degrees of intensity”.

Francis went on to touch on almost every trouble spot in the world during his long 3,500 word address, including further Islamist violence in Nigeria, conflict in the Holy Land where he argued a “two-state solution” is required; terrorism in Syria and Iraq which demands a “unanimous response”; and threats against Christians in the Middle East, without whom the region would be “marred and mutilated.”

He further warned of the plight of migrants, those caught up in human trafficking, women who are victims of violence, and that the family is often “considered disposable”, thanks to the spread of an “individualistic and self-centered culture.”

More controversially, he expressed appreciation to the Obama administration for wishing to close Guantanamo, and said he looked forward to the drafting a new climate change agreement which he described as a “significant process.” The Pope is to publish a new encyclical before the summer which is rumored to give credence to climate change, despite many who continue to be skeptical of the science.

His speech on Monday was generally well received, however. It was “powerful and substantial,” Britain’s ambassador to the Holy See, Nigel Baker, told me. “It repeated many well known ‘Franciscan’ themes, but developed them around the central theme of conflict in a coherent and challenging way. Impressive stuff.”

Edward Pentin began reporting on the Vatican as a correspondent with Vatican Radio in 2002. He has covered the Pope and the Holy See for a number of publications, including Newsweek and The Sunday Times. Read more reports from Edward Pentin — Click Here Now.
 

 



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In the face of the attacks in Paris last week and the continuing menace of ISIS, Pope Francis has warned that religious fundamentalism is part of a “throwaway culture” that, in eliminating God, leads to “horrendous” violence and death.
Guantanamo, ISIS, Paris, Pope Francis
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2015-01-12
Monday, 12 Jan 2015 01:01 PM
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