Pope uses the word 'genocide' for Turkey WW1 massacre of Armenians
Turkey steadfastly denies there was any genocide in Armenia during World War One, despite the facts. It threatens and cajoles those who tell the truth, using its diplomatic and economic muscle to intimidate those who speak the G-word about its behavior a century ago.
Adolf Hitler was under no illusions about what took place. Speaking to a group of Wehrmacht commanders in 1939 of his plan to create lebensraum (living space) for Germans in the East by slaughtering Poles, he said, “ Who still talks nowadays of the extermination of the Armenians?”
Thus, it is an important step that Pope Francis used the term “genocide.” The BBC reports:
At Sunday's Mass in the Armenian Catholic rite at Peter's Basilica, he said that humanity had lived through "three massive and unprecedented tragedies" in the last century.
"The first, which is widely considered 'the first genocide of the 20th Century', struck your own Armenian people," he said, in a form of words used by a declaration by Pope John Paul II in 2001.
The Pope was perfectly conscious that by using the word "genocide" he would offend Turkey, which considers the number of deaths of Armenians during the extinction of the Ottoman Empire exaggerated, and continues to deny the extent of the massacre.
But the Pope's powerful phrase "concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to bleed without bandaging it" extended his condemnation to all other, more recent, mass killings, including those in Cambodia, Rwanda, Burundi and Bosnia and today's massacres by Islamic State.
Pope Francis' focus today on Armenia, the first country to adopt Christianity as its state religion, even before the conversion of the Roman Emperor Constantine, serves as yet another reminder of the Catholic Church's widely spread roots in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. More than 20 local Eastern Catholic Churches, including that of Armenia, remain in communion with Rome.
Today, Christians are being exterminated in territories controlled by ISIS, and ISIS is spreading. The lessons of the 20th century are being highlighted by the Pontiff, if not by President Obama, who considers Turkey’s leader Erdogan one of his best friends among world leaders.