Unlike some of Pope Francis’s other headline-generating pronouncements, his description of Turkey’s mass murder of 1.5 million Armenians during World War I as “genocide” was anything but inadvertent. Speaking at the Vatican during a Sunday Mass to mark the centenary of the slaughter, the pope said it is “widely considered the first genocide of the 20th century” — a quote from Pope John Paul II, who used nearly the same words in 2001.
But Francis went further, equating the destruction of the Armenians to the Nazi Holocaust and the Soviet bloodbaths under Stalin. And he linked the genocidal Ottoman assault on Armenia, the world’s oldest Christian nation, with the epidemic of violence against Christians today, especially by such radical Islamist terror groups as ISIS, Boko Haram, and Al Shabab.
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