Pope Francis lambasts dictatorial forms of international aid

Pope Francis has obliquely but sharply criticized how financially stable nations lend aid to developing countries, saying they sometimes require concessions that strike echoes of 20th century dictatorships.

Speaking to media, Francis recounted a story of a public education minister he knew who was offered money to construct new schools for the poor. To receive the money, said Francis, the minister had to agree to use a course book with students that taught what the pontiff called “gender theory.”

“This is the ideological colonization,” said the pope. “It colonizes the people with an idea that changes, or wants to change, a mentality or a structure. It is not new, this,” he continued. “The same was done by the dictators of the last century. They came with their own doctrine — think of the Balilla [youth groups of Fascist Italy], think of the Hitler Youth.”

“Every people has its own culture,” said Francis. “But when imposed conditions come from the imperial colonizers, they seek to make [peoples] lose their own identity and make an homogeny.”

Continuing to clarify his concept of “ideological colonization,” Francis said he heard concerns about the matter from African bishops during last fall’s Synod, who told him they often face difficult choices when presented with conditions of acceptance on much needed financial aid.

[National Catholic Reporter]

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