Pope hits out at 'brazen' free circulation of arms


ROME - Pope Francis on Monday hit out at the “brazen” free circulation of arms worldwide, a day after a gunman used an assault rifle to kill 50 people in an Orlando gay nightclub.

On a visit to the headquarters of the World Food Programme (WFP), the pontiff contrasted the ease of obtaining lethal weapons with the bureaucratic obstacles often encountered by organisations trying to deliver humanitarian aid.

“Whereas forms of aid and development projects are obstructed by involved and comprehensible political decisions, skewed ideological visions and impenetrable customs barriers, weaponry is not,” Francis said.

"It makes no difference where arms come from; they circulate with brazen and virtually absolute freedom in many parts of the world.

“As a result, wars are fed, not people.”

Francis did not explicitly refer to the Orlando shooting in his speech at the UN agency. On Sunday he condemned the killings as an act of “homicidal folly and senseless hatred.”

Global hunger and opposition to the arms trade have been recurring themes in Francis’s pronouncements since he became the first pope from the southern hemisphere in 2013.

The leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics insists hunger can be eliminated by addressing inequalities and waste.

“Food shortage is not something natural,” he said Monday. “That fact that today, well into the 21st Century, so many people suffer from this scourge is due to a selfish and wrong distribution of resources, to the ’merchandising’ of food.”



Just like Obama, he is refusing the address the real problem, Islamic terrorism, instead they are choosing to focus on the tools terrorists use, but that is pointless, you have to go to the source of the evil to put a stop to it, not just try to regulate access to the tools they use for these attacks.

Something tells me if Mateen didnt have a gun, he would have used a car bomb, or some other method that would have still resulted in many deaths.

I think Pope and Obama seem to be leery of addressing Islamic terrorism as the root cause of all this.


It seems to me that you can address Both the root cause And the instrumental cause. That seems to be what the pope is doing. Notice that he also went after terrorism, hatred, and folly, not just the arms trade.


I remember back when Tim McVey blew up the OK Federal bldg, back then everyone recognized the reason why he did this and had no problems speaking about it, I dont recall anyone even mentioning how easy it was to rent a moving truck, or the accessibility of fertilizer chemicals.

If that happened in modern times though, I tend to think they would try to crack down on the instruments he used, (making it tougher to rent a truck, or buy chemicals, etc).

The issue with doing the same today, is that is goes against ‘political correctness’, Its not very popular to label a certain group to be terrorists in a world where they dont want to offend anyone.


The pope is quite happy to label terrorist groups. In many of his interviews he talks about ISIS as a group of terrorists and how we must fight them. I don’t think you want him to do what I’m about to say, but it is worth pointing out that it would be incorrect to label the entire international group of Muslims as terrorists. It wouldn’t even be correct to say that Islam teaches terrorism, because there is no magisterium in Islam to identify the correct interpretation of the Quran, which contradicts itself precisely on this point. I think this is one reason why the pope has acknowledged that conquest is “inherent in the soul of Islam” but has asked the Muslim community to give that a nonviolent interpretation. (source) Since there is no magisterium in Islam, no one can say with any authority that a peaceful interpretation of the Quran is incorrect. Thus the pope does address the root problem of terrorism and gives a solid basis for overcoming it: they should adopt Christian ideas instead, including on this point about conquest.


Notice he says “wars are fed” and talks of “aid” and “development” so he may be referring to arms in regards to countries which are developing and may have poverty etc. and also in regards to war and not necessarily private gun ownership for hunting or self defence purposes that exists in countries such as Switzerland and the United States of America. I’m not 100% sure.


Agreed. The Pope has spoken on these issues in other interviews (such as the one to La Croix), and it’s clear he’s talking about armed conflicts in the form of civil or international war. Reading “US gun control” into this reveals more about the reader’s biases than the Pope’s.


Well, the same thing happened in WW2, look at how the Japanese americans who were US citizens, were treated back then, even if they disagreed with what Japan was doing.

My grandpa was guilty of this, even though he was a devout catholic, since he fought against the Japanese, he viewed ALL japanese people to be the same. People did this with German people too back then.

People do the same thing today, they hear ‘Muslim’ and they automatically think radical Islam.


This isn’t just about politics or religion or ideology, it’s about making money.

In the 1950s, Evangelist Billy Graham met with President Eisenhower to discuss how surplus wheat could be distributed to those who are hungry. Issues:

Who will buy it?

Who will pay to ship it?

Who will make sure it reaches the people who need it?

In Africa, for example, with various levels of warfare, trucks need to be rented, drivers assigned, the food may be taxed and the drivers killed by others who will simply steal it. That doesn’t mean we should do nothing, but this is an ongoing problem.

If the United States sells 20 billion bushels of corn each year, on average, for all uses, it pays farmers not to grow more through Farm Subsidies. If more corn is on the market, it goes unsold or the price of corn drops, hurting farmers, and investors. People don’t know about massive companies like Archer Daniels Midland. “Each day, ADM transforms crops such as corn, oilseeds, wheat and cocoa into food, feed, and agriculturally derived fuels and chemicals.”

So arms manufacturers need to sell product. Just google world arms exports.



My father was a World War II vet. Blame the media. The Japanese soldier was always portrayed as this buck-toothed, not too bright person. I won’t even go into the Editorial cartoons published in newspapers. Bad enough the enemy was the enemy, but he also has to be portrayed as less capable, dumber, etc. than US soldiers. So, if he was like that then ALL Japanese were like that.

The Germans got better press until 1940. Time magazine named Hitler “Man of the Year” in 1938.



There are tons of restrictions on the arms trade. I’m not sure what he’s talking about, but if he is insinuating that there are no legal barriers to it, he’s utterly wrong.

It just turns out that bad people aren’t interested in following those laws. What a surprise.






Hard to argue against the fact that semi-auto firearms are a crucial element in carrying out these large mass shootings. it would be difficult to envision carrying out successfully a similar attack without clips of ammunition.

Hard to argue that arms manufacturers are opposed to gun control laws.


He didn’t say there were no legal barriers to it.

Imagine this: an arms manufacturer named Guns R Us is known to sell guns in Saudi Arabia. Moreover, one of their clients is Al Qaeda. Without making it difficult to buy guns for hunting and self-defense, can’t we make it illegal for a manufacturer to sell guns to Al Qaeda? I don’t know what the current law is, but I suppose that’s already illegal. If it is, and they are doing it anyway, can’t we send the army into their headquarters and say, “Either you stop or we’ll arrest everyone here who has a position of leadership?” Suppose they are not selling to Al Qaeda directly, but rather they are stocking a gun shop over there and They are selling to terrorists. Can’t we find out which ones are doing that and make Guns R Us stop selling guns to Those people?

My point is that there are available legal instruments for doing what the pope says without stopping Reasonable gun ownership.


Did the Pope speak on the ISIS element of this specific massacre? If not, it was a missed opportunity regardless of whether or not he’s addressed it in other interviews.


Do you think mentioning ISIS in Two public statements would make a difference? How about three? Maybe he should talk about ISIS in fifty public statements, would that be enough to stop them?

He has already said that ISIS is responsible for terrorist attacks and we need to fight them. In all future statements about ISIS violence, does he have to name them Again? And again? And again? Should we worry that if he doesn’t mention them once, that means he supports them or doesn’t want to offend them? Because I don’t think that’s reasonable. He has talked about stopping the hatred and the terrorism. In the past he has made it clear that ISIS is a growing terrorist threat. I don’t think he has to name them every time because it is already clear where he stands on them specifically, it makes sense to talk about violence and terrorism more generally as well.


There is a global Black Market for firearms. One example:




Each time it happens it should be mentioned whether it’s once or thousand times. IMO it could make a difference to those who weren’t paying attention, and now are because the terror attack happened to be in their own backyard (the prime example being that the terror took place this time in America’s backyard).

It’s clear to you because you are paying attention. Not everyone is paying attention. And to answer your question, we don’t have to worry whether or not the Pope supports ISIS or not. After all, you and I know the Pope is a follower of Christ, not some deranged form of Islam. Non-Christians however may have no idea what a Christian thinks about such things.


You are in good company of many who just don’t understand what to make of the sage wisdom of this Holy Father.


I support the Holy Father in this. :slight_smile:

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