“Violence promoted and carried out in the name of religion” must always be condemned, Pope Francis stated on Feb. 2 at a conference focused on this subject.

“The religious person knows that among the greatest blasphemies is to invoke God as the justification for one’s own sins and crimes, to invoke him in order to justify killing, mass murder, enslavement, exploitation in whatever form, oppression and persecution of individuals and entire populations,” the pontiff said. Those who do so “only discredit religion itself.”

To effectively counter those who use religion as justification for violence requires “unremitting effort” on the part of goodwill people of faith to proclaim the sacredness of all life and “to unmask any effort” to ground violent acts in religious faith.

“There is a need, then, for a common commitment on the part of political authorities, religious leaders, teachers and those engaged in the fields of education, training and communications, to warn all those tempted by perverse forms of misguided religiosity that these have nothing to do with the profession of a religion worthy of this name,” the pope stated.

The full text of the pope’s speech is available here.

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