Pope Francis slams cancel culture, warns it leaves no room for ‘freedom of expression’

Pope Francis waves as he arrives for an audience with members of St. Pietro and Paolo association, in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican, Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
By Dénes Albert
3 Min Read

In his New Year’s speech to members of the diplomatic corps serving in the Vatican on Monday, Pope Francis condemned the existence of modern-day “cancel culture,” warning it amounts to an “ideological colonization” that leaves no room for “freedom of expression.”

The outspoken religious leader used his address to express concerns about the culture of revision that now exists within public institutions and spoke out against the dangers of attempting to erase or rewrite history for the sake of diversity.

“In the name of protecting diversity, we will eventually abolish all forms of self-identity,” the pope said. “We can witness the emergence of a way of thinking that denies history or, worse, rewrites it according to our current concepts, although every historical situation must be interpreted on the basis of the hermeneutics and cognitive system of the given period,” he added.

“I believe this is a form of ideological colonization that leaves no room for freedom of expression and is increasingly embodied in ‘cancel culture,’ which is sticking its head in more and more areas and public institutions,” the pope stressed, reiterating that within many institutions there is already a “way of thinking that denies the natural foundations and cultural roots of humanity that make up the very identity of many peoples.”

In December, the head of the Catholic Church had criticized an internal document from the European Commission recommending that the word Christmas not be used. The pope called the motion “anachronism stemming from watered-down secularism.”

In his speech, Pope Francis also referred to the removal of statues of historical figures because of their colonial past, as well as to the controversy related that erupted in the United States and Europe.

Nuclear weapons are immoral

Ahead of the 10th Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference due to be held in New York in two weeks, the archbishop reiterated his previous concern about “extremely immoral” nuclear weapons and called the resumption of negotiations on a nuclear deal with Iran an “important” step.

“Of the weapons created by mankind, nuclear weapons are of particular concern,” the pope stressed, confirming that he “remains firmly of the view that nuclear weapons are an inappropriate and inadequate means of responding to the security threats of the 21st century and that their possession is extremely immoral.”

Pope Francis also commented on the armed conflicts across the world, mentioning Syria, Yemen, Ethiopia, Ukraine, and Sudan, and reiterated his concern about the “insurmountable conflicts that sometimes seem to be substitutes for real wars.”

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