Pope Francis: Ideological Colonization is a ‘Blasphemy’

The Holy Father condemns the imposition of Western secular values on other peoples and nations, saying every time a ‘cultural and ideological colonization’ comes along, ‘it sins against God the Creator because it wants to change Creation as it was made by Him.’

Pope Francis addressing pilgrims at his weekly general audience, St. Peter's Square, Nov. 22, 2017.
Pope Francis addressing pilgrims at his weekly general audience, St. Peter's Square, Nov. 22, 2017. (photo: Daniel Ibanez/CNA)

Pope Francis has again spoken out strongly against today’s “ideological colonization” — the West’s imposition of secular, non-Christian values on developing nations — calling it a “particularly ugly blasphemy against God the Creator.”

In his morning homily Tuesday at his Santa Marta residence, the Pope explained that cultural and ideological colonization does not tolerate differences and makes everything the same, resulting in persecution of believers.

He was reflecting on the first reading of the day, the martyrdom of Eleazar, the Hebrew scribe and an Old Testament doctor of the law, who resisted the imposition of a new pagan culture on the Jewish people, and efforts to “introduce the pagan institutions of other nations.”

Such a “modernizing, a renewal of everything, is a true ideological colonization,” the Pope said, according to which everything was “done in a particular way, and there was no freedom for other things.”

It is a process which always proceeds in the same way, the Pope said, “destroying, attempting to make everyone the same.” Such persecutions, he added, “are incapable of tolerating differences,” and it has a “perverse root” which ends up “persecuting believers, too.”

But Eleazar, he recalled, was “very dignified and respected by all” and rose up against it, as did other martyrs who faced this “persecution born of ideological colonization.” Eleazar, faced with this phenomenon arising from the “perversity of an ideological root” had himself become a “contrary root,” the Pope said, and died leaving the young with a “noble example.”

The Pope referred to examples of such colonization in our own times: the genocides of the last century, and trying to make everyone equal so there is “no place for others, there is no place for God.”

But the Pope said not all novelties are bad, saying “just think of the Gospel of Jesus,” and adding it is important to “discern” new things as coming either from the Holy Spirit, or from a “perverse root.”

Ideological and cultural colonization, he went on, “only looks to the present,” denying the past and not looking to the future. 

“They live in the moment, not in time, and so they can’t promise us anything,” the Pope said. “And with this attitude of making everyone equal and cancelling out differences, they commit, they make a particularly ugly blasphemy against God the Creator.”

“Every time a cultural and ideological colonization comes along, it sins against God the Creator because it wants to change Creation as it was made by Him,” Francis added. “And against this fact that has occurred so often in history, there is only one medicine: bearing witness; that is, martyrdom.”

He closed by saying that Eleazar offers such a witness, leaving “the legacy of his testimony” that would be “a promise of fruitfulness for the young.”

Eleazar’s witness, the Pope concluded, “will help us in moments of confusion in the face of the cultural and spiritual colonization that is being proposed to us.”


“Shameful” Colonization Today

Ideological colonization is felt particularly acutely in Africa and Asia where Western nations and non-governmental organizations have increasingly tied aid and development to adoption of such issues as “reproductive health” (abortion and contraception) and same-sex “marriage”.

Obianuju Ekeocha, the founder of Culture of Life Africa, an initiative dedicated to the promotion and propagation of the gospel of life in Africa, told the Register Nov. 22 she was very grateful for the Pope’s strong words on this issue as such colonization has worsened over the past decade.

“The western world has been — and is still — undergoing rapid and radical moral shifts especially with regards to human sexuality, marriage, family and of course the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death,” said Ekeocha, a native of Nigeria who lives in Britain.

“These changes have been toxic to society as casual sex, abortion and contraception have become acceptable in many western countries, just as gender fluidity, same-sex ‘marriage’ and homosexual lifestyles are being supported and normalized by the same wealthy and powerful western leaders who hold and control the purse strings of foreign aid,” she said.

Ekeocha, who has written a book on the subject called Target Africa to be published soon by Ignatius Press, highlighted how crisis relief programs in Africa have not only been tied to population control measures, but African nations have also been threatened with aid withdrawal if they uphold traditional views on marriage and sexuality. She said these same Western nations and NGOs have also “incentivized morally objectionable” sex-education programs for African youth.

“Our ideologically-driven western donors praise us when we submit to their distorted values, and punish us when we hold onto our own cultural views,” Ekeocha said.

“It is heart breaking and rather shameful to watch as Africans are increasingly being subdued, silenced and, yes, colonized through ideologically tainted foreign aid.” 

“The Holy Father is right,” Ekeocha concluded. “Ideological colonization is evil in every way.”