It has been quite a while, a very long while indeed, since I contributed to these cyber columns, though I kept my regular appointment with the Sunday Times of Malta. I don’t know whether what follows is good or bad news: I resolve to start writing regularly.

In my Sunday commentary I referred to the Pope’s comments on terrorism in his answers to journalists on his way to Poland and during his address to Polish leaders. I believe that his answers to journalists on the way back to the Vatican also deserve recording and commenting.

One cannot not note his open attitude and deep insight. What a difference from the attitude of local xenophobes bent on distributing bacon sandwiches during their activities or desecrating the Koran by pieces of the same meat. They perhaps think that they serve Christianity by their attitude. The Pope clearly says that they do nothing of the sort.

One journalist asked why Pope Francis does not describe as “Islamic terrorism” the violent acts committed by the so-called Islamic State.

"I do not like to speak of Islamic violence, because every day when you read the newspapers you see violence." Francis responded adding that, for example in Italy one often reads of men who kill their fiancés or their mother-in-laws.”

"These are baptised Catholics. They are violent Catholics. If I speak of Islamic violence, I have to speak of Catholic violence. Not all Muslims are violent. Not all Catholics are violent."

One can say that there is a difference between a murderer who happens to be a Catholic and someone who kills in the name of a religion, as ISIS does. True; but painting everyone with the same brush is not on. The Pope rightly says that:
"This is a small fundamentalist group that is called ISIS," said Francis. "You cannot say -- I believe it is not true and it is not just - that Islam is terroristic."

Then Francis moved on to drop a bomb which gives the title to this piece.

"Terrorism grows when there is not another option, and while at the centre of the global economic system there is the god of money and not the person, man and woman. This is the first terrorism. You have chased away the miracle of creation, man and woman, and you have put in its place money. This is a base-level terrorism against all humanity. Let's think about it."

Francis, like so many other popes before him, condemns the unjust economic structures that lord it over us. The violence committed by these unjust economic structures kills more people that ISIS does. This does not absolve ISIS one iota but it helps us focus better on different problems that exist on a global level. ISIS is the enemy of humanity but so are the unjust systems which condemn millions to a life of misery and slow death.

As the Pope exhorts us: Let us think about it.


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