Pope Francis took aim at cancel culture during his annual address Monday, warning that it is a kind of “one-track thinking” that risk silencing important voices.
“Cancel culture is invading many circles and public institutions,” the pope said in the address to 183 countries accredited to the Holy See. “As a result, agendas are increasingly dictated by a mindset that rejects the natural foundations of humanity and the cultural roots that constitute the identity of many people.”
The pope added that “under the guise of defending diversity, it ends up canceling all sense of identity,” which risks silencing people that “defend a respectful and balanced understanding of various sensibilities.”He also warned against attempts to rewrite history without understanding the context of the times in which people lived, arguing that “any historical situation must be interpreted in accordance with a hermeneutics of that particular time.”
“Diplomacy is called to be truly inclusive, not canceling but cherishing the differences and sensibilities that have historically marked various peoples,” the pope said.
But Francis also took aim at what he called “baseless information or poorly documented facts” about the COVID-19 vaccine, encouraging governments to continue their efforts to get their populations vaccinated.
“Vaccines are not a magical means of healing,” the pope said. “Yet surely they represent, in addition to other treatments that need to be developed, the most reasonable solution for the prevention of the disease.”
Francis noted that countries that have seen widespread use in the vaccine have also seen a reduction in severe cases.
“It is therefore important to continue the effort to immunize the general population as much as possible,” the pope said.
The pope was also critical of closing schools to in-person instruction and opting for virtual learning, arguing that the isolation could be detrimental to students development.
“In making this point, I in no way intend to deny the usefulness of technology and its products, which make it possible for us to connect with one another easily and quickly,” the pope said. “But I do appeal urgently that we be watchful lest these instruments substitute for true human relationships.”