ASIA/LEBANON - The Armenian Catholic Patriarch Nerses Bedros XIX: the Pope's words on the Genocide express the conscience of mankind, they are not "against" anyone

Monday, 13 April 2015

Rome (Agenzia Fides) - "The Turkish government's strategy to prevent from speaking of the Armenian Genocide is failing. This is why there is tension and the diplomatic reactions of Turkey are so harsh. But the Pope spoke following his conscience, he repeated what he already had told us two years ago, and no one can expect to silence the Pope’s conscience". This is how the Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenian Catholics, Nerses Bedros XIX, comments to Agenzia Fides, the harsh views expressed by the Turkish Foreign Ministry for the words on the Armenian Genocide pronounced yesterday by Pope Francis, in the context of the liturgy celebrated in St. Peter's Basilica with the faithful of the Armenian Rite, one hundred years since the "Big Evil".
I found out - adds His Beatitude to Agenzia Fides - that some Turkish journalists attending the liturgy left the Basilica when the Pope mentioned the Armenian Genocide, in order to immediately communicate the news. In a very short space of time, there were already the first official reactions".
The Primate of the Armenian Catholic Church vehemently denies manipulative readings that seek to ascribe a hostile connotation to Turkey or even to the Muslim world regardings the Pope’s words: "The instrumental nature of these cogitations - notes Patriarch Nerses Bedros - is quite clear. The Pope is not lined up 'with' Armenians 'against' the Turks. He is not against anyone. In his journey, last November, he had exalted, with words full of gratitude, the mission of dialogue and reconciliation that Turkey is called to carry out by the very fact of being a bridge between Europe and the Middle East. Just look at the expressions used by the Pope to see that he also mentioned mass killings in Europe caused by Nazism and Stalinism, and the recent episodes still in Europe, Africa and Asia. His gaze embraces the world, he expresses the sense of humanity that we should all share. The memory and the condemnation of the horrors of the past can serve to prevent those things from happening again, as unfortunately is happening even now in many parts of the world, starting from the Middle East".
Pope Francis’ words in the face of the present sufferings of the people of the Middle East make, according to His Beatitude Nerses Bedros, any attempt to attribute to the Pope’s words polemic value against Islam totally unfounded: "Pope Francis - declares to Fides the Head of the Armenian Catholic Church - thinks of the entire world and expresses the conscience of humanity before the tragedies of conflict and violence. He thinks of all the oppressed, the poor and the sick of any nation and religion. He has never separated the sufferings of the Christians from the suffering of others, as evidenced by all his speeches on the conflicts that are bloodying the Middle East". (GV) (Agenzia Fides 13/04/2015)