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Pope Francis is as confused and distraught by the attacks on Paris as we all are.

Fillipo Monteforte / Getty Images

In times like these it can be tempting to provide the ultimate take, the one analysis to end them all, the single piece of bite-sized wisdom that both explains and solves the horror we’ve all collectively witnessed. It is also impossible to do so, which Pope Francis acknowledged Saturday in a telephone interview with TV2000, the official television network of the Italian Bishops’ Conference.

“I am moved and I am saddened,” Francis said, “I do not understand, these things are hard to understand.” The pope also reiterated his view that the episodic outbursts of terroristic violence that have characterized the 21st century are part of a “piecemeal” World War III, being fought in scattered fits and starts rather than in organized military campaigns. 

For a jolly pontiff beloved for his upbeat demeanor, Francis understands evil.