During his talk to families last week in the Philippines, Pope Francis warned about "ideological colonization," and mentioned, in passing, a few examples. Naturally, the media jumped on only one of those examples, "redefining marriage" (which the Vatican spokesperson acknowledged referred to same-sex unions seeking the legal status of marriage). I had posted on Twitter a link to an article about the talk, and all the engagement I received that day focused on the one example. No one seemed to notice that the Pope was taking aim not at a proposed law, or a way of life, but an "ideology," a way of thinking that is imposed "from on high," from a position of power, and that restricts true human freedom. Unfortunately, so many people have a personal investment in a change of law that the warning about the loss of real freedom completely passed them by.
On the plane ride home, the Pope took questions from the press, and a French reporter seized the occasion to ask for more detail about "ideological colonization." The Holy Father's answer is worth reading (emphases mine):
Ideological colonization. I'll give just one example that I saw myself. Twenty years ago, in 1995, a minister of education asked for a large loan to build schools for the poor. They gave it to her on the condition that in the schools there would be a book for the children of a certain level, no? It was a school book, a book prepared well, didactically, in which gender theory was taught.
This woman needed the money but that was the condition. Clever woman, she said yes and did it again and again and it went ahead like this and that's how it was achieved. This is ideological colonization.
They introduce to the people an idea that has nothing nothing to do with the nation. Yes, with groups of people, but not with the nation. And they colonize the people with an idea which changes, or wants to change, a mentality or a structure.
During the synod, the African bishops complained about this. Which was the same story, certain loans in exchange for certain conditions -- I say only these things that I have seen.
Why do I say ideological colonization? Because they take, they really take, they take the need of a people to seize an opportunity to enter and grow strong -- with the children. But it is not new, this. The same was done by the dictatorships of the last century. They entered with their own doctrine -- think of the Balilla (Mussolini’s fascist youth organization -- editor’s note), think of the Hitler Youth.
They colonized the people, but they wanted to do it. But how much suffering -- peoples must not lose their freedom. Each people has its own culture, its own history. Every people has its own culture.
But when conditions come imposed by imperial colonizers, they seek to make these peoples lose their own identity and make a uniformity. This is the globalization of the sphere -- all the points are equidistant from the center. And the true globalization -- I like to say this -- is not the sphere. It is important to globalize, but not like the sphere; rather, like the polyhedron. Namely that each people, every part, conserves its own identity without being ideologically colonized. These are the ideological colonizations.
There is a book, excuse me but I'll make a commercial, there is a book that maybe is a bit heavy at the beginning because it was written in 1903 in London. It is a book that at that time, the writer had seen this drama of ideological colonization and wrote in that book. It is called "The Lord of the Earth" or "The Lord of the World." One of those. The author is Benson, written in 1903. I advise you to read it. Reading it, you'll understand well what I mean by ideological colonization.