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Rome Reports

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Why isn't the pope a communist


The first pope to condemn atheistic communism was Pius XI in his encyclical, Divini Redemptoris. Then, John Paul II was perhaps the biggest player in fighting it, because he had lived under it. 

Pope Francis follows his predecessors, and has condemned all forms of autocracy and totalitarianism in our times.

POPE FRANCIS
“When I speak of autocracy and totalitarianism, I am not only talking of the last century, but also the world today, and perhaps some countries in Latin America.”

The Latin-American pope lamented there are still politicians today who would like to dominate every aspect of peoples' lives.

Pope Francis worries about the impact totalitarianism has on society as a whole. He believes it must be fought by defending the dignity and freedom of each individual. 

POPE FRANCIS
“These guerillas, what they really did, as guerillas or paramilitary groups... they've caused corruption many times. They have caused so much damage that they've provoked the disease of hate.”

The pope has seen hatred spurred by communist parties on various trips throughout his pontificate. In Lithuania, he recalled persecution perpetrated by totalitarianism.

POPE FRANCIS
“Let us remember those times, and ask the Lord to give us the gift of discernment to detect in time any regrowth of that detrimental attitude. Any air that ratifies the hearts of generations who have not lived like that and sometimes run after those songs of the Sirens.”

Pope Francis is a defendor of the needs of people in the peripheries of society. In his programmatic letter, he said it is “far from personal interest or political ideology.”

“My word is not that of an enemy, nor that of an opponent. I am only interested in ensuring that those who are enslaved by an individualistic, indifferent or egotistical mentality, can free themselves of those unworthy chains,” he wrote.

These are words that for some in the contemporary world, have a communist background.

ANDREA TORNIELLI
Editorial Director, Dicastery of Communication
“It's obviously a lie. The pope simply remembers pages of history of the Church and fathers of the Church when they used words about the poor, that clearly listening to them today could mean they're from the left.”

It bothers Pope Francis to be called a communist for saying people must help those who struggle in society.

ANDREA TORNIELLI
Editorial Director, Dicastery of Communication
“It's not just a matter of charity or social or political attention, in any form. Helping the poor has to do with a Christian's heart in faith. In the poor, migrant, refugee, or marginalized, the Christian sees the face of Jesus.”

Human tragedies in a globalized world force man to stare in the face of the root. It's called hate, regardless of the ideology that provokes it.

Daniel Diaz Vizzi
Translated: Rachel Dobrzynski