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After Paris Attacks, Vatican Secretary of State Defends Use of Military Force Against ISIS

Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin has acknowledged that the Vatican “could be a target” of Islamist attacks “because of its religious significance,” but insisted that “we will not let ourselves be paralyzed with fear.”

The Cardinal made these remarks in an interview Sunday with the French Catholic newspaper La Croix, in which he also defended the use of military force in taking down ISIS.

“Daesh [ISIS] has warned that the appalling Paris attacks are just the beginning. These are all manifestations of terrorism linked to Islamic fundamentalism,” he said.

“Blind violence is intolerable, whatever its source,” Parolin said, noting that states have the right to defend themselves against an unjust aggressor, as well as “the duty to protect their citizens and repel the terrorists.”

According to the Catholic tradition of “just war theory,” a series of conditions is necessary for a nation to wage war. Cardinal Parolin cited the Catholic Catechism noting that legitimate defense “can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others.”

He also said that the defense of the common good “requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm. For this reason, those who legitimately hold authority also have the right to use arms to repel aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their responsibility.”

In the present case, the Cardinal said what is needed is a mobilization “of all security, police and intelligence forces to uproot this evil of terrorism.”

Parolin also remarked on the need for increased security measures in and around the Vatican, but said that the Pope would not be changing his schedule.

Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome.

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