News Headlines > Pope Francis arrives in Krakow declaring that 'world is at war'

27 July 2016 | by Christopher Lamb

Pope Francis arrives in Krakow declaring that 'world is at war'

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War is not religious but a war for the 'domination of peoples', Pope tells journalists on plane to Poland

Pope Francis arrived in Poland declaring the “world is at war” following a wave of recent terrorist attacks including one this week when a priest was killed. 

In remarks on the plane from Rome to Krakow, which he was making ahead of a five-day visit to mark World Youth Day, Francis linked Tuesday’s brutal murder of Fr Jacques Hamel by Islamic extremists with other terror attacks. 

“This holy priest, who died just at the moment that he offered the prayer for the whole church, is one [victim],” he said. “But how many Christians, how many innocents, how many children?”

He added: “Let’s not be afraid to state this reality. The world is at war because it has lost the peace.”

The Pope stressed, however, that he was not talking about a war between religions. “There is war for money,” Francis said. “There is war for natural resources. There is war for the domination of peoples. Some might think I am speaking of religious war. No. All religions want peace; it is other people who want war.”

Upon arrival to Krakow he travelled to Wawel - which houses the royal castle and a cathedral - to have a meeting with President Andrzej Duda and address politicians and civil leaders. 

During that speech he addressed the question of migration calling for the government to “overcome fear and to achieve the greater good” adding there was a need to welcome those fleeing from wars and hunger".

Francis pointed out, however, that international co-operation was needed in order “to resolve the conflicts and wars that force so many people to leave their homes and their native lands".

The issue of migration has been a point of tension between the Pope and the Polish government: the latter have preached an anti-migrant agenda, while Francis has made care for refugees a key part of his pontificate. 

Before travelling to Poland the Pope met with 15 migrants - nine men and six women - who are living in Italy but do not have proper documentation. 

Speaking in Krakow on Wednesday, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, one of the Pope’s advisers, stressed the importance of welcoming those fleeing war and persecution and he warned against hostility following recent attacks. 

“To demonise Islam that’s always the great danger,” he told The Tablet. “You’re talking about fanatic terrorists who are persecuting Christians. You are not painting everyone [all Muslims] with the same brush.”

The Tablet's Rome Correspondent Christopher Lamb is in Krakow for World Youth Day

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