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Pope Francis angers Turkey by referencing Armenian genocide

Pope Francis angers Turkey by referencing Armenian genocide

Pope Francis among people in St Peter’s Square

Pope Francis reiterated the words of Pope John Paul II during a Mass at St Peter’s Basilica on the 100th year since the start of Armenian executions in Turkey. Referring to three massive tragedies of the 20th century, Francis said, “The first, which is widely considered ‘the first genocide of the 20th Century’, struck your own Armenian people.”

The BBC has analysis of the event and a video of Francis at St Peter’s Basilica.

The BBC also reports that Turkey has withdrawn their ambassador to Rome. The Turkish government disagrees with historians on the death count (estimated at 1.5 million) and claims that the military violence was part of a civil war, not ethnic cleansing.

The Guardian has a video of Francis processing and his full remarks.

Is this another inspirational moment by the new Pope? Has Pope Francis changed your perspective on the Roman Catholic church?


Posted by David Streever


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Anand Gnanadesikan

I see Pope Francis as a very good man in a flawed system. The great challenge in a hierarchical church like the Roman Catholic Church is how the legitimacy of that hierarchy is maintained. Historically, it’s been through cozying up to the establishment.

JPII and Benedict, both very involved in the Second Vatican Council, recognized that this wasn’t going to work in a post WWII world and tried to make intellectual authority the grounds of authority. Which basically got blown up by the clergy abuse scandals.

Francis seems to recognize that the church only has authority as a moral examplar. But it is far from clear that a hierarchical church can survive in a competitive religious marketplace where the laity can see the failures of the hierarchy, but is helpless to actually effect real change.

David Murray

After the last two, Francis is a breath of fresh air and perhaps a chance of something of change. However, no I see no real change with the Rome with this pope. This is a matter of historical record whether the Turks own it or not. At least, this pope has said something.

Avram Cohen

I know many Armenians that say one thing consistent about their murdered relatives,, when the Islamic Turks were butchering them the Turks would laugh and mock them by saying “Where is your Jesus now and why isn’t he here to save you!” Pretty sickening!

Edited – Avram please use your first and last name with future posts please. I’ve fixed it for you this time and allowed your comment through moderation.
David Allen

Rod Gillis

Actually, Pope Francis named three great tragedies of the 20th century. The other two he named are the Shoah and the Ukrainian famine under Stalin. As for Turkey recalling its ambassador to Rome over the reigning pope’s comments, one might weigh that against Turkey’s qualified support for NATO/OTAN. Despite a rhetorical commitment to NATO/OTAN it is clear that Turkey is more committed to quashing Kurdish independence. The New York Times (March 2015), among others, has an interesting editorial on the matter.

David Allen

Has Pope Francis changed your perspective on the Roman Catholic church?

As far as GLBTQ issues, not at all. I see it as a kinder gentler same old same old! +Francis says something in off-the-cuff, unscripted remarks and the Curia immediately starts walking it back. As well as local prelates around the world ignoring what he said when confronted and reminded of his statements. Catholic doctrine hasn’t been changed. It isn’t likely to be changed as long as the present generations are alive. Maybe when today’s children are in power, their world views will creep into the Roman power structure.

Bro David

Anand Gnanadesikan


I would point out that Pope Francis has made one change relative to Benedict- namely that celibate gay priests are not intrinsically disqualified from ministry. Which does seem significant to me…

That said, I think that one reason that Catholic teaching is (and will continue to be) so hard to change is the conflation of the theological teaching authority and moral teaching authority of the church. Insofar as submission to this authority is seen as critical to the Catholic Church hierarchy it is going to be impossible for the church to admit that it was wrong. The result is seen to be moral chaos.

Mind you, this attitude is a major reason that I can’t become a Catholic. Which is in some ways a pity, given that Catholicism in the US does a much better job than any other Christian tradition in embracing the life of the mind.


Philip Snyder

Are our world views to change the Gospel? I thought the point of the Gospel was to change our world views?

Are our ideas of what is/isn’t moral designed to change the teaching of the Church or is the Church supposed to change our ideas of what is/isn’t moral?

I thought that the whole idea of following Jesus was that we were to become new beings whose lives were animated by the Holy Spirit and not by our “worldviews.”

Harry M. Merryman


I agree that “the Gospel [ought] to change our world views.” When it comes to how TEC’s discernments regarding sexuality have evolved, that is exactly what has been happening; the Gospel is at the center of this evolution.

Anand Gnanadesikan


I have known people who as a result of conversion have been delivered from drug addiction, prostitution, alcoholism, and all other sorts of brokenness. But folks I’ve known who have prayed in deep sincerity and passion for God to deliver them from same-sex attraction have not seen those prayers answered.

That’s a big reason my thinking on this issue has evolved. I don’t always find the readings of pro-gay theologians convincing, and there are certainly some in the church who are preaching the sexual equivalent of the prosperity gospel. But I’m not going to deny what I see God doing- and not doing- in the lives of my gay Christian friends.


David Allen

I think that it has to do with what it is that you think is the “Gospel.” My GLBTQ brothers & sisters and I don’t believe that there is anything about us and our lives in the Gospel aside from that we love God with our hearts, minds and strength and that we love our neighbors as ourselves. And since many of us now read ancient Hebrew and Greek ourselves, we now understand that those side issues you trumpet every occasion possible with regard to our lives are nowhere written in Scripture. And before you ask, YES, THE CHURCH WAS WRONG about us for the last 2000 years.

Bro David

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