Violence is always ‘the product of a falsification of religion’, Pope Francis told an assembly of diplomats on Monday.
The pontiff used his annual ‘State of the World’ address to condemn the attacks on the Charlie Hebdo offices and the kosher supermarket in Paris. He said the killings showed how rejecting the beliefs of others can lead to violence and the breakdown of society.
Speaking at the Vatican, he called for unity in denouncing the slayings:
“I express my hope that religious, political and intellectual leaders, especially those from the Muslim community, will condemn all fundamentalist and extremist interpretations of religion, which attempt to justify such acts of violence”, he said.
Calling attention to ‘comparable acts of brutality’ elsewhere in the world, he expressed concern over incidents of kidnapping and child trafficking in Nigeria.
Francis urged leaders to engage in dialogue, making an example of the historic reconciliation between the US and Cuba.