On Monday, Pope Francis endorsed the use of force to stop Islamic militants from attacking religious minorities in Iraq, but with one caveat: it needs the approval of the international community, the Associated Press reported.
For about two weeks, the U.S. has been leading other countries in coordinating resistance in the area, but the U.S. has led the charge, launching airstrikes against Islamic State fighters on Aug. 8.
“In these cases, where there is an unjust aggression, I can only say that it is licit to stop the unjust aggressor,” Francis said. “I underscore the verb ‘stop.’ I’m not saying ‘bomb’ or ‘make war,’ just ‘stop.’ And the means that can be used to stop them must be evaluated.”
“One nation alone cannot judge how you stop this, how you stop an unjust aggressor,” he added, apparently referring to the United States. “After World War II, the idea of the United Nations came about: It’s there that you must discuss ‘Is there an unjust aggression? It seems so. How should we stop it?’ Just this. Nothing more.”
Francis spoke to reporters while aboard the Papal Plane. He also said he and his advisers were considering visiting northern Iraq to show solidarity with persecuted Christians, but is holding off for now on a final decision.