Whither Nationalism

In some countries a form of religious-cultural nationalism is back in vogue. Religion is exploited both to obtain popular support and to launch a political message that is identified with people’s loyalty and devotion to a nation.

Nov 14, 2020

By Joseph Lobo SJ,
In some countries a form of religious-cultural nationalism is back in vogue. Religion is exploited both to obtain popular support and to launch a political message that is identified with people’s loyalty and devotion to a nation.

In reality, in today’s globalised world, there is no geographical entity that can be defined as a “nation” that has within it a single homogeneous identity from a linguistic or religious point of view, or indeed from any other point of view. Therefore, radical nationalism is only possible if it eliminates diversity. It follows that a liberating deconstruction of nationalism is more necessary than ever.

Let us be clear: nationalism should never be confused with patriotism. In fact, while the “patriot is proud of his country for what it does, the nationalist boasts of his country, whatever it does; the former contributes to creating a sense of responsibility, while the latter gives rise to the blind arrogance that leads to war.”

Pope Francis has spoken about the role of religions in the face of today’s dangers: “Religions therefore have an educational task: to help bring out the best in each person.” This is the opposite of “the rigid and fundamentalist reactions on the part of those who, through violent words and deeds, seek to impose extreme and radical attitudes which are furthest from the living God.” ––La Civiltà Cattolica

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