Pope Francis condemned terrorist attacks done in the name of God in his speech Monday at the Vatican, calling upon social and political leaders to address the conditions that breed radicalism and put an end to conflicts around the world.
The pontiff made the remarks during his annual New Year's address to the Vatican diplomatic corps, the world's oldest foreign service. He decried acts of violence inspired by religion, especially those committed by jihadist groups such as Al Qaeda and the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, whose fundamentalist calls for bloodshed have been answered worldwide, including recent attacks in Berlin, Damascus and Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
"We are dealing with a homicidal madness which misuses God’s name in order to disseminate death, in a play for domination and power. Hence I appeal to all religious authorities to join in reaffirming unequivocally that one can never kill in God’s name. Fundamentalist terrorism is the fruit of a profound spiritual poverty, and often is linked to significant social poverty," Francis said.
In his speech, he also commented on developing tensions in the Korean peninsula and Pyongyang's pursuit of nuclear weapons, calling it "particularly disturbing." Francis stated that all nuclear arms should be abandoned and that the widespread proliferation of conventional weapons helped to spread instability in fear around the world. He asked world leaders to find peaceful solutions to conflicts in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Europe.
Francis has been particularly active in world affairs since taking the position in 2013. In 2015, he toured war-torn Central African Republic, signed a treaty recognizing the State of Palestine and was instrumental in mediating the covert talks between the U.S. and Cuba that eventually led to a historic thaw in diplomatic relations.