Pope warns against the "colonialism" of values and ideas.
“The document on Christmas is an anachronism,” said Pope Francis on the plane which brought him back from Athens to Rome on December 6, 2021. He was referring to a draft document of the European Commission which invited members to avoid certain terms, including “Christmas,” to be “inclusive.” The document was quickly withdrawn.
A reporter asked the Pope about it, though, and the Holy Father had largely the same reaction as his secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.
The European Commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli of Malta, signed the guideline that was published in Italian media on the first Monday of Advent. By the next day, it was withdrawn.
“In history, many dictatorships have tried to do this, think of Napoleon, think of the Nazi dictatorship, of the Communist dictatorship, it is a mode of watered down secularism,” suggested the 84-year-old Pontiff.
The European Union “must be careful not to open the way to ideological colonization,” he warned. This could ultimately “divide countries and cause the European Union to fail.”
Warning against a desire to “standardize” the individual countries, the head of the Catholic Church said the EU must take care: “I believe that she will not do it, she does not have this intention, but she must be careful.”
“The European Union must respect each country as it is structured within, the variety of countries, and not want to make them uniform. … Each country has its own peculiarity, but each country is open to the others.”
He said that the Union must not be a vehicle of “ideological colonization,” a term he uses to refer to countries, usually in the West, trying to impose their own values on other countries, particularly poorer countries. He has spoken of it in reference, for example, to gender ideology, or to Western attitudes toward abortion or family planning being imposed in Africa.
Cancel discrimination, but not individuals
Pope Francis’ response on the plane follows on from the reaction of his Secretary of State , Cardinal Pietro Parolin, on November 30.
“I believe that the concern to cancel all discrimination is just,” Parolin told Vatican News. “It is a path of which we have become more aware and which naturally must be translated into practice. However, in my opinion, this is not the way to achieve this goal. Because in the end we risk destroying, annihilating the person.”
The document put forward by Helena Dalli, European Commissioner for Equality, suggested giving priority internally, in the name of inclusiveness, to certain expressions. It was therefore preferable to use terms such as “holiday period” rather than “Christmas period.”
Likewise, the document suggested avoiding exchanging “Ladies and Gentlemen” in favor of a neutral formula: “Dear colleagues.”