ABOARD, THE PAPAL PLANE – Pope Francis on Sunday expressed concern over the continued threat from nuclear weapons nearly 70 years after World War II, saying “mankind has learned nothing” from the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Speaking to reporters aboard a flight returning from a visit to Turkey, Francis said nuclear energy has benefited mankind greatly but the science has also been used to “destroy humanity.”
If nuclear weapons were used today, “we would be forced to start from zero, just like Hiroshima and Nagasaki,” he said in Italian.
The pope, who leads the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, also said the current prevalence of conflict across the world is tantamount to a third world war. He said a system of money worship is behind this, adding that the trafficking of weapons is “one of the strongest businesses” right now.
Regarding terrorism in the Middle East and Africa, the pope said such acts are the work of Islamist fundamentalists and should not be seen as representative of the religion as a whole.
He called on Islam’s academic, religious and political leaders to speak out against terrorism.