In his most explicit statement yet, the Pope endorses the use of force to stop the monsters of ISIS, well, as close as he is likely to come.
ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (AP) — Pope Francis on Monday endorsed the use of force to stop Islamic militants from attacking religious minorities in Iraq but said the international community — and not just one country — should decide how to intervene.
Francis also said he and his advisers were considering whether he might go to northern Iraq himself to show solidarity with persecuted Christians. But he said he was holding off for now on a decision.
In other comments to journalists returning from South Korea, Francis confirmed he hoped to travel to the United States in September 2015 for a possible three-city tour: to attend a family rally in Philadelphia and to address Congress in Washington and the United Nations in New York. He said a Mexico stop on that trip was possible but not decided yet. He also said he might make one-day visit to Spain next year.
On Iraq, Francis was asked if he approved of the unilateral U.S. airstrikes on militants of the Islamic State who have captured swaths of northern and western Iraq and northeastern Syria and have forced minority Christians and others to either convert to Islam or flee their homes.
"In these cases, where there is an unjust aggression, I can only say that it is licit to stop the unjust aggressor," Francis said. "I underscore the verb 'stop.' I'm not saying 'bomb' or 'make war,' just 'stop.' And the means that can be used to stop them must be evaluated."