Today’s populism mirrors WW2 ideologies, warns pope

Pope Francis has issued a stark warning about the dangers of populism in today’s world.

Speaking off script to staff and members of a Jesuit magazine “Aggiornamenti Sociali” (“Social Updates”), Francis said ignoring the reality lived by men and women today has caused a resurgence of old ideologies that inevitably do more harm than good.

These involve prejudices, as certain “schools of thought and positions taken do so much harm” in the world – just as they did during the Second World War .

“Today for example in Europe…countries … close in on themselves and turn to ideologies.”

“But not just new ideologies — there are a few — but to the old ones, the old ideologies that created the Second World War.”

Listening is critical to combating this, he said.

It is the “fundamental attitude of every person who wants to do something for others.

“Listen to situations, listen to problems, openly, without prejudices.”

The resurgence of ideologies like populism is a product of not listening: “it is a projection of what I want to be done, what I want to be thought, what I think should be.

“Reality is what I want it to be; we place filters. But reality is another thing, reality is sovereign. Whether we like it or not, it is sovereign. And I must dialogue with reality.”

Christians must initiate “a dialogue … starting from the values of the Gospel, from the things Jesus has taught us, without dogmatically imposing but with dialogue and discernment.”

“If you start from preconceptions or pre-established positions, from dogmatic pre-decisions, you will never, never be able to give a message.

“The message must come from the Lord through us. We are Christians and the Lord speaks to us through reality, through prayer and discernment,” he said.

“Continue to be with [the discarded people] listen to them, accompany them so that their voices may be the ones who speak.”

“Even those who research and reflect on social questions are called to have the heart of a shepherd with the smell of the sheep.”

Avoid “the temptation of abstraction, of limiting yourselves to the level of ideas while forgetting the concreteness of doing and walking together.”

“Serious intellectual research is also a journey made together, especially when dealing with cutting-edge issues.”

Allow “for different perspectives and disciplines to interact” and should “promote relationships of respect and friendship between those involved so that they may discover how encountering one another enriches everyone.”


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News category: World.

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