Pope Francis on Foreign Policy



Saddened by US restrictions on travel and trade with Cuba

Pope Francis said he was saddened by Trump's decision last year to implement new restrictions on American travel and trade with Cuba. The move rolled back his predecessor President Barack Obama's opening to the island nation. That deal, which the Vatican helped broker, "was a good step forward", the pope said.
Source: Reuters on 2018 Trump Administration , Jun 20, 2018

Israel & Palestine should be separate, independent countries

Pope Francis called for Israel and Palestine to be separate, independent countries. The Pope indirectly addressed Trump's decision last week to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a controversial move that many--including the more than 120 nations that backed a United Nations resolution--believe will undermine the so-called "two-state solution."

The Pope implored followers to consider the children who continue "to suffer because of growing tensions between Israelis and Palestinians." Palestinians, who hope that Jerusalem will be the capital of their future state, were enraged by Trump's move, with protesters burning˙American flags and clashing˙with Israeli soldiers.

"Let us pray that the will to resume dialogue may prevail between the parties and that a negotiated solution can finally be reached, one that would allow the peaceful coexistence of two states within mutually agreed and internationally recognized borders," said Pope Francis in the Vatican.

Source: Newsweek magazine, "Christmas Message" , Dec 25, 2017

Declaring Jerusalem as Israel's capital destabilizes Mideast

Following reports that US President Donald Trump planned to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Pope Francis expressed his concern that such a move would further destabilize the Middle East. Pope Francis said he could not "keep silent about my deep concern" for Jerusalem & urged respect for "the status quo of the city in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the United Nations."

The pope spoke at the end of his weekly general audience Dec. 6, the same day Trump announced his decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, fulfilling a promise he made during his presidential campaign.

The Vatican supports a "two-state solution" for the Holy Land with independence, recognition and secure borders for both Israel and Palestine. In his appeal, Pope Francis said, "Jerusalem is a unique city, sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims who venerate the holy places of their respective religions, and has a special vocation to peace."

Source: Catholic News Service, "Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel" , Dec 6, 2017

Be attentive to fundamentalism in world of violent conflict

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, the guardian of liberty who labored tirelessly that this nation under God might have a new birth of freedom. Building a future of freedom requires love of the common good and cooperation in a spirit of subsidiarity and solidarity.

All of us are quite aware of and deeply worried by the disturbing and political situation of the world today. Our world is increasingly a place of violent conflict, hatred and brutal atrocities committed even in the name of God and of religion.

We know that no religion is immune from forms of individual delusion or ideological extremism. This means that we must be especially attentive to every type of fundamentalism, whether religious or of any other kind. A delicate balance is required to combat violence perpetrated in the name of a religion, an ideology or an economic system while also safeguarding religious freedom, intellectual freedom and individual freedoms.

Source: Pope Francis' address to Congress during 2015 U.S. visit , Sep 24, 2015

Open Cuba; end American embargo

Pope Francis wants to open Cuba. His Vatican played a central behind-the-scenes role in last year's secret U.S.-Cuba negotiations. Long before he was elevated to the papacy, with a book he wrote in the '90s, Francis spoke out against the American embargo. Visiting Cuba this weekend, he praised the thaw between the two long-estranged neighbors as "an example of reconciliation for the entire world" that "fills us with hope."
Source: Washington Post coverage of Pope Francis' 2015 U.S. visit , Sep 19, 2015

WWII Holocaust & Armenian genocide were both tragedies

Francis also built on comments he has made in the past about events during the first and second world wars. He spoke of the "tragedy of the Shoah", using the Hebrew term for the Holocaust.

"The great powers had the pictures of the railway lines that brought the trains to the concentration camps like Auschwitz to kill Jews, Christians, homosexuals, everybody. Why didn't they bomb (the railway lines)?"

Discussing the first world war, he spoke of "the great tragedy of Armenia", but did not use the word "genocide". Francis sparked a diplomatic row in April, calling the massacre of up to 1.5 million Armenians 100 years ago "the first genocide of the 20th century", prompting Turkey to recall its ambassador to the Vatican.

Source: The Guardian coverage of Pope Francis' 2015 U.S. visit , Jun 21, 2015

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Page last updated: Oct 28, 2021