Pope Francis Says Cancel Culture 'Leaves No Space for Freedom of Expression'

Plus, the pope spoke out in support of vaccines, saying that getting a shot "translates into respect for the health of those around us"

pope francis
Photo: ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP via Getty Images

Pope Francis isn't a fan of cancel culture, the pontiff declared in a speech at the Vatican on Monday.

While speaking to diplomats from 183 countries, the head of the Catholic church called cancel culture "a form of ideological colonization — one that leaves no room for freedom of expression," per Insider.

"[Some attitudes] leave no room for freedom of expression and are now taking the form of the 'cancel culture' invading many circles and public institutions," he added, according to the Associated Press. "Under the guise of defending diversity, it ends up cancelling all sense of identity, with the risk of silencing positions."

The pope also warned of the consequences of squashing debate.

"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," he said, Insider reported.

"Diplomacy is called to be truly inclusive, not canceling but cherishing the differences and sensibilities that have historically marked various peoples," the pope added, per the outlet.

Pope Francis leaves the Syriac Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of Salvation (Sayidat al-Najat) in Baghdad
Pope Francis. AYMAN HENNA/AFP via Getty

Cancel culture is widely seen as a form of ostracism; a public backlash can essentially "cancel" a person from society, resulting in the loss of work, platforms, relationships and relevancy. Proponents have argued that mobilizing the masses to take a stand against wrongdoing makes the world more just.

The Catholic church addressed recent cultural shifts in October, criticizing the European Commission for releasing a 30-page guide on communication that encouraged the use of the word "holiday" over "Christmas," in order to be more inclusive, per Politico.

"Of course, we know that Europe owes its existence and its identity to many influences, but we certainly cannot forget that one of the main influences, if not the main one, was Christianity itself," said Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, per Vatican News.

A healthcare Worker hands in surgical gloves pulling COVID-19 vaccine liquid from vial to vaccinate a patient
Vaccine. Getty

Pope Francis also addressed the dangers associated with anti-vaccine misinformation during his speech. As he sees it, vaccination against COVID-19 "translates into respect for the health of those around us," the AP reported.

"Health care is a moral obligation," he added.

"Frequently people let themselves be influenced by the ideology of the moment, often bolstered by baseless information or poorly documented facts," the pope continued. "Vaccines are not a magical means of healing, yet surely they represent, in addition to other treatments that need to be developed, the most reasonable solution for the prevention of the disease."

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