Pope Francis Warns West Over ‘Ideological Colonization’

The Holy Father told reporters aboard the papal plane Monday that children in developing nations suffer when the West offers financial incentives along with its social/cultural agenda.

Pope Francis speaks with journalists aboard the plane from Manila to Rome on Jan. 19.
Pope Francis speaks with journalists aboard the plane from Manila to Rome on Jan. 19. (photo: CNA/Alan Holdren)

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis cautioned on Monday that gender ideologies from the wealthy Western world are being imposed on developing nations by tying them to foreign aid and education, in a form of “ideological colonization.”

“A people enters with an idea that has nothing, nothing to do with the nation. … And they colonize the people with an idea that changes, or wants to change, a mentality or a structure,” he said Jan. 19 during a press conference on his return flight to Rome from the Philippines.

“They use the need of a people to take an opportunity to enter and grow strong — with the children.”

The Pope referred to the imposition of foreign ideas into a culture as “ideological colonization,” adding that it is sometimes tied to financial assistance.

“I’ll give just one example that I saw myself,” he said to journalists on the flight. He recounted the case of a public-service officer who sought loans in order to be able to build schools for the poor two decades ago.

She received the money, he said, on the condition that she insert a “well-prepared” book into the curriculum to teach “gender theory.”

“This woman needed the money, but that was the condition,” explained the Pope. “Clever girl, she said, ‘Yes.’” And, as a result, the goal of the financiers was achieved, he said.

“This is the [concept of] ideological colonization,” said Pope Francis.

He explained that bishops from Africa deplored similar occurrences in their nations during the October 2014 Synod of Bishops on the pastoral care of the family.

This colonization process passes through the youngest, said the Pope. “The same was done by the dictatorships of the last century. They entered with their own doctrine,” he remarked.

“Think of the Hitler Youth,” he said in reference to the Nazi-training programs to indoctrinate young people to party ideas.

“But how much suffering. Peoples must not lose their freedom,” he said.

“When conditions are imposed by imperial colonizers, they seek to make [these] peoples lose their own identity and make a uniformity [in society],” he said. “This is the globalization of the sphere — all the points are equidistant from the center.”

However, “true globalization” doesn’t take the form of a sphere, creating uniformity and equal distances from the center, said Pope Francis.

Rather, he said, it is important that it is a “polyhedron,” multifaceted, so “that every people, every part, conserves its own identity without being ideologically colonized. These are the ideological colonizations.”