Pope Francis blamed Europe and the United States for the deaths of children in Syria, Yemen, and Afghanistan in an address this weekend, declaring that there would be no wars if rich Western countries did not manufacture and sell arms.
Speaking in the Vatican to students and faculty from Milan’s San Carlo Institute, the pope exclaimed with voice rising in anger that the reason wars have occurred in Yemen, Syria, and Afghanistan, is because “rich Europe and America sell weapons to kill children and kill people.”
Curiously, the pope’s explicit mention of Europe and the United States does not appear in the official Vatican transcript of Saturday’s address, but it can be heard in the video recording of the event.
“I’m sure you all want peace. And why are there so many wars? For example, in Yemen, in Syria, in Afghanistan. Why? If they didn’t have the weapons, they wouldn’t wage war. So why do they wage war? Because we… rich Europe, America, sells weapons to kill children, to kill people. We’re the ones who make the difference!”
“And you have to say these things clearly, without mincing words, without fear,” he continued. “And if you young people are not able to ask these questions, to say these things, you are not young, there is something missing in your heart that should make your blood boil.”
“Do you understand? We’re the ones who make the difference. Both with unjust economic systems and by building weapons to kill others,” he said.
“On the conscience of a nation that manufactures weapons and sells them is the death of every child, every person, and the destruction of families,” he said.
“We always have to ask ourselves these uncomfortable questions,” Francis concluded. “There are questions that will never have an answer, but by asking the questions we will grow and become adults with unrest in our heart. And then be aware that we are the ones who make the difference.”
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