Pope Francis condemns the culture of cancellation

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Pope Francis holds the weekly general audience in the Paul VI Audience Hall at the Vatican, on January 5, 2022. (Remo Casilli / Reuters)

Pope Francis condemned cancel culture and he discouraged Catholics from participating in it during a speech to the Vatican’s Diplomatic Corps on Monday.

“Canceling culture is invading many circles and public institutions,” he said. “As a result, agendas are increasingly dictated by a mindset that rejects the natural foundations of humanity and the cultural roots that constitute the identity of many people.”

Canceling culture is a phenomenon in which people can be rejected by society or suffer damage to their reputation for saying what is considered politically incorrect, whose definition is dynamic and constantly evolving.

The bishop of Rome pointed out that “under the pretext of defending diversity, all sense of identity is annulled.” The cost of this is repressing those who simply “advocate a balanced and respectful understanding of various sensitivities,” he said.

He urged not to judge historical people and events by contemporary standards, claiming that canceling culture is “one-way thinking” that ignores the nuances and development of humanity from the past to the present. Context is key, he suggested, adding that “any historical situation must be interpreted according to a hermeneutic of that particular moment.”

“Diplomacy is called to be truly inclusive, not nullifying but valuing the differences and sensitivities that have historically marked various peoples,” he said as a closing message to the congregation.

The Pope has earned a reputation for commenting on political and cultural issues where his predecessors have been the most reticent. In addition to warning against canceling culture, he also proclaimed that getting vaccinated is a “moral obligation.” Last week, he argued that it is selfish for couples to choose to have pets rather than have children, saying it erodes our “humanity.” Fatherhood is “one of the highest forms of love,” he said, encouraging couples to consider adoption.

In 2015, the Pope published an encyclical on ecology, entitled “Laudato Si”, affirming the dangers of climate change, which he attributed to “human activity.”

The first Jesuit pope, Francis, has come under fire from traditional Catholics for what they have perceived as attempts to dilute orthodoxy and observances to adapt to the modern world. For example, the Pope approved additional restrictions on the Mass in Latin last month to ensure compliance with Vatican II, the conference that ended in 1965 that modernized the church’s stance toward ritual and other religions.

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