Pope Francis urged leaders to work together to fight the “plague of terrorism”, saying in his New Year’s address on Sunday that a bloodstain was covering the world as it started 2017.
Jan. 1 is marked by the Catholic Church as the World Day of Peace, but even on this day, Pope Francis was compelled to acknowledge the realities of an oft-violent world, expressing sorrow over an attack on a Turkish nightclub that reportedly left 39 people dead.
“Unfortunately, violence has stricken even in this night of good wishes and hope. Pained, I express my closeness to the Turkish people. I pray for the many victims and for the wounded and for the entire nation in mourning,”
“I ask the Lord to sustain all men of good will to courageously roll up their sleeves to confront the plague of terrorism and this stain of blood that is covering the world with a shadow of fear and a sense of loss,”
“The year will be good in the measure that each one of us, with the help of God, seeks to do good day after day,” he told the crowd on a cold morning.
Speaking on the day the 1.2 billion-member Roman Catholic Church marks its World Day of Peace, he said peace was constructed by saying ‘no’ to hate and violence and ‘yes’ to brotherhood and reconciliation.
Francis earlier said Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, where in a homily he said the lack of physical contact among people brought on by modern means of virtual communication “is cauterizing our hearts and making us lose the capacity for tenderness and wonder, for pity and compassion.”
The term “Plague of Terrorism” is relatively recent – the earliest mentions we could find are all later than 2010. It depicts terrorism not as a movement, an ideology, or a strategy – which all describe essentially human behavior, but rather as an act of nature or if you will, something whose source might be supernatural.