Religious Nationalism and Pope Francis’ ‘Culture of Encounter’

Author: David Hollenbach

January 23, 2023

Published in La Civiltà Cattolica, this article by Rev. David Hollenbach, S.J., examines the increasing presence of religion in discussions of international politics in recent years. This is partly due to the recognition that religious communities are contributing to some of the conflicts that mar the international scene today. Religiously inspired nationalist movements are among the more dangerous ways that religion can lead to conflict today. On the other hand, religious communities can also be important agents of peace. Pope Francis has been an important religious contributor to peace, both through his actions and his teaching. Hollenbach sketches several examples of how religious nationalism threatens peace, but also notes several forms of faith-based resistance to religious nationalism. Ultimately, Hollenbach highlights how Pope Francis’ “culture of encounter” can provide a remedy for such religious nationalism and help build peace.

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