Justice, Peace, Integrity<br /> of Creation
Justice, Peace, Integrity<br /> of Creation
Justice, Peace, Integrity<br /> of Creation
Justice, Peace, Integrity<br /> of Creation
Justice, Peace, Integrity<br /> of Creation

The Pope. Modern neo-colonialism is a crime and a threat to peace

Vatican News 31.03.2023 Lisa Zengarini Translated by: Jpic-jp.org

In a message addressed to a workshop in the Vatican on neo-colonialism, Pope Francis warns against modern economic and ideological colonialism and again, apologizes for those Christians who contributed to the colonization of Africa and the Americas.

“No power - political, economic, ideological - is entitled to unilaterally determine the identity of a nation or social group,” Pope Francis told a forum of judges for social rights gathered this week in the Vatican for an African and American intercontinental workshop on modern neo-colonialism.

“The subjugation and plunder of peoples through the use of force or cultural and political penetration is a crime (…) because there are no chances for peace in a world that discards populations and oppresses in order to loot,” the Pope wrote in a message to the participants.

The legacy of the colonial system in Africa and the Americas 

The workshop, titled “Colonization, Decolonization and Neo-colonialism in the Perspective of Justice and the Common Good”, was organized from March 30-31 by the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences, the Commission of Pan American judges for Social Rights and Franciscan Doctrine and the University of Massachusetts, U.S.A.

Participants reflected on the legacy of the colonial system in Africa and the Americas focusing on today’s global inequalities and social injustices, unsustainable development, unchecked climate change, and mass migration, and discussed the role of institutions and the justice system in reversing these developments.

Although in the 21st century we can no longer technically speak of "colonized" countries from a geographical point of view, says Pope Francis, the same cannot be said with regards to the economic and ideological aspects. Indeed, colonialism has changed in its forms, methods and justifications: “it is virtualised, camouflaged, hidden, making it difficult to detect and neutralize it”.

Economic and ideological colonialism

The Pope cited by way of example the Democratic Republic of Congo, which he visited earlier this year along with South Sudan. He noted, that despite the DRC being independent for over seventy years, its rich resources continue to be exploited and contended by several stakeholders resulting in conflicts which heavily affect its territory, population and the common good.

Equally relevant, he continued, is the phenomenon of “ideological colonialism”, which “stifles the natural bond between peoples and their values, by trying to eradicate their traditions, history and religious beliefs”"

“Ideological colonialism tends to standardize everything. It obeys a mentality that doesn’t' tolerate differences and focuses only on the present, on individual needs and rights, often neglecting duties towards the weakest and most fragile.”

No chances for peace in a world that discards and oppresses peoples

Pope Francis said he is particularly concerned by these new forms of colonialism. “It seems like several centuries of bloody and inhumane historical strife haven’t served to develop a global idea of liberation, self-determination and solidarity between nations and between human beings”, he remarked.

Colonialism is still there, but it is more “refined” and “subtle”, and justifies the new practices of domination “with claimed ‘natural’ deficiencies of the colonized”. In this context, the “frontal warfare” of old colonial times has been replaced today by “asymmetric conflicts and lawfare.”  

In this regard, Pope Francis remarked that we should never forget that the concrete expressions of justice and the common good mature in peoples, each with their “stories, origins, traditions, and religions”, which must be respected as such.

“This is why”, he said, "no power – political, economic, ideological – is entitled to unilaterally determine the identity of a nation or a social group”.

After reiterating the important role of scholars and scientific research in raising awareness on the fight against ongoing neo-colonial practices, racism and segregation, Pope Francis highlighted the crucial importance of including native peoples and displaced ethnic groups in political decision-making processes in their countries., by giving them a fair representation in representative bodies.

“We are asked to make the necessary effort to put an end to neocolonial practices and their expressions of racism and social segregation that descend from them sooner rather than later. (...) There will be no peace if, in the representative political systems, there is no real integration of the excluded peoples.”

See, Pope: Modern neo-colonialism is a crime and a threat to peace See the statement on Colonization, Decolonization and Neo-colonialism from the Perspective of Justice and the Common Good To know on the workshop see Colonization, Decolonization and Neocolonialism from the Perspective of Justice and the Common Good

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The comments from our readers (1)

Margaret Henderson 17.07.2023 I am always very interested to read about the results of Empire building as I don’t think the U.K. is very aware of how much damage it has done to its enormous former empire. For some reason, the nature of the English has been exceptionally acquisitive. It would not rest until, after hundreds of years of war, it had brought Scotland, Ireland and Wales under its control. Then of course it set out to rule as much as possible of the world, often using poorly paid nationals from defeated nations to do its dirty work for it. Did you know that Indians used to call themselves the ‘Scottish Empire’ as there were so many Scottish soldiers and low-level administrators sent there! Anyway, much of the ‘grandeur’ of Britain was built on the exploitation of its empire. But what was done emotionally, culturally to the defeated nations, though not so visible, was even more devastating and isn’t often acknowledged. So - what the Pope said on the subject of neo-colonialism was very Important.