Nationalism that neglects common good concerns Pope

The re-emergence of nationalism that manifests in aggressive feelings against foreigners, especially immigrants, is of serious concern says Pope Francis.

Nationalism that compromises international cooperation, mutual respect and the sustainable development goals of the United Nations is part of the growing problem.

In addition, nationalism that neglects the common good and the growing threat of nuclear confrontation risks cancelling the progress of the recent past and multiplies the risk of war, Francis told the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.

Francis said the Church has always urged the love of one’s own people and country while respecting the various cultures, customs and habits of other peoples.

However, he warned against excluding and hating others. This is when loving one’s own people and country becomes “conflictual nationalism that raises walls, even racism or anti-Semitism,” he said.

Francis also pointed out that often states are subservient to the interests of a dominant group, mainly for reasons of economic profit, which oppresses the ethnic, linguistic or religious minorities who are in their territory.

Instead, Francis suggested, “the way in which a nation welcomes migrants reveals its vision of human dignity and its relationship with humanity.”

He urged welcoming with humanity people forced to leave their own countries – by protecting, promoting and integrating them.

Migrants are not a threat to the culture, customs and values of the host nation, Francis pointed out.

They also have a duty – to integrate into the receiving nation, by enriching the host while maintaining their identity.

Migration is a permanent feature of human history, affecting all nations Francis noted, while warning that a “nation state that arouses the nationalistic feelings of its own people against other nations or groups of people would fail in its mission”.

History proves where such deviations lead to, he said.

The nation-state cannot be regarded as absolute and an island in relation to its surroundings and on its own, Francis said.

Nor can it provide its people with the common good and meet the great contemporary challenges of climate change, new slavery and peace.

In Francis’s view, a cooperative vision among nations requires the relaunching of multilateralism.

“Humanity would thus avoid the threat of recourse to armed conflicts whenever a dispute arises between nation-states, as well as evading the danger of economic and ideological colonisation of the superpowers, avoiding the overwhelming of the strongest over the weakest, and paying attention to the global dimension without losing sight of the local, national and regional dimensions.”


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