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Pope Francis: The world’s at war, but not a war of religions

CAGLIARI, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 22:  Pope Francis delivers his speech during a meeting with young people on September 22, 2013 in Cagliari, Italy. Pope Francis heads to Cagliari on the Italian island of Sardinia for a pastoral visit that includes celebrating mass at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Bonaria. The Pope announced in May that he wished to visit the Marian Shrine of Bonaria or 'Good Air' because it gave his hometown of Buenos Aires its name. During his 10-hour visit to the city of Cagliari, the Pope will also meet workers, business representatives, prisoners, the poor, young people, leading representatives from the world of culture and the island's Catholic bishops.  (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

The world is at war, but it is not a war of religions, Pope Francis said Wednesday as he traveled to Poland on his first visit to Central and Eastern Europe in the shadow of the slaying of a priest in France.

The killing of an 85-year-old priest in a Normandy church on Tuesday added to security fears surrounding Francis’ five-day visit for the World Youth Day celebrations, which were already high due to a string of violent attacks in France and Germany. Polish officials say they have deployed tens of thousands of security officials to cover the event.

Francis spoke to reporters on the papal plane en route from Rome to Poland, AP reports. Asked about the slaying of the priest, Francis replied: “It’s war, we don’t have to be afraid to say this.”

After greeting reporters on his papal plane he returned to the topic to clarify that when he speaks of war, he is speaking of “a war of interests, for money, resources, dominion of peoples.”

“I am not speaking of a war of religions. Religions don’t want war. The others want war,” Francis said.

Upon arrival at Krakow airport a pensive Francis was greeted by Poland’s President Andrzej Duda, First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda and other state officials, and hundreds of faithful who had waited for hours to see him.