Pope Francis returned to his critique of “ideological colonization” during his daily Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae on Thursday.
The pope said the three marks of this “colonization” are removing freedom, erasing memory, and indoctrinating young people.
Francis was reflecting on the readings from 2 Maccabees in the Old Testament, which describes the Jewish revolt against Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the ruler of the Seleucid Empire.
The king tried to Hellenize the Jewish people, and outlawed various Jewish practices and religious rites.
Francis compared this to what happens today to the “people of God” when a “dictatorship” of “cultural or ideological colonization” takes hold.
“Freedom is taken away, history, people’s memory is deconstructed, and an educational system is imposed on young people. Everyone: Everyone does this,” the pope said, as reported by Vatican Radio.
He gave the example of a country which is given a loan, but only on the condition it teaches certain subjects or ideologies in its schools – “books that have erased all that God has created and how he has created it.
“They erase the differences, eliminate history: From today you have to start thinking in this way. Those who do not think like this are cast aside, even persecuted,” Francis said.
He pointed to the history of Europe, where those who opposed “genocidal dictatorships” were persecuted.
The pope then spoke about the story recounted in 2 Maccabees about a Jewish mother with seven sons, who watches them all die after they refuse to violate Jewish dietary laws by eating pork.
He used the story to speak about the role of women in preserving memory: “the memory of salvation, the memory of God’s people, that memory that strengthened the faith of a people persecuted by this ideological-cultural colonization.”
Francis said memory is the only thing that helps people triumph over perverse education systems.
The pope said “only the strength of women is capable of resisting cultural colonization,” because they are “the guardians of memory.”
He also said women “convey the faith” which “theologians will be able to explain.”