TURIN (Combined Sources)—Pope Francis on Sunday denounced what he calls the “great powers” of the world for failing to act during the “great tragedy of Armenia.”
“In the last century, so many, millions, (of Armenians) died. But where were the great powers then? They were looking the other way,” the Pope said while speaking to the Associated Press.
The Pope’s assessments came in impromptu remarks during a visit to Turin, Italy, where he told young people that he understands why they find it hard to trust the world.
The Pontiff also decried the world’s inaction when there was intelligence indicating that Jews, Christians, homosexuals and others were being transported to death camps in Europe during World War II, as well as the deaths of Christians in gulags in Russia under the Stalin dictatorship, which followed the war.
“The great powers had photographs of the railway routes that the trains took to Auschwitz to kill Jews, Christians, homosexuals, everybody,” Francis said, citing the death camp in Poland, and asked, “Why didn’t they bomb,” those routes?
Referring to the gulags in Russia, Francis asked, “How many Christians suffered, were killed?”
Lamenting the cynicism of world leaders in the 1930s and 1940s, Francis said that “the great powers divided up Europe like a cake.”
In April, the Pope angered Turkey when he referred to the slaughter of Armenians by Ottoman Turks as genocide.
In today’s world, he told the young people that “everything is done for money.” He criticized those advocating for peace while manufacturing or selling arms at the same time.
Francis reiterated his view that conflicts in the world today are tantamount to “a Third World War in segments.”
In related news, the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch thanked Pope Francis for “courageously” speaking of the Armenian Genocide.
Pope Francis and the patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch expressed their desire to work toward full communion of the two churches, according to the National Catholic Reporter.
The Pope met with Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II at the Vatican on Friday. It was Aphrem’s first official visit with Francis. The two church leaders spoke privately, after which they each gave public remarks.
The Patriarch thanked Francis for “courageously” speaking of the Armenian genocide and “opening the way for others to do the same.” The patriarch said about 500,000 Syriac Orthodox followers died in the 1915 genocide, for which the community continues to seek healing and reconciliation.