Though the conservative rage over the seasonal “War on Christmas” in the U.S. has appeared to wane over the last few years, Pope Francis told the world this month that the efforts to cancel Christmas are alive and well — and are being led by Western governments.
And the pontiff wasn’t afraid to point out that the anti-Christmas efforts were reminiscent of Napoleon, the Nazis, and the communists.
The pope was referring to an attempt by the European Union to ban the word “Christmas” in an effort to promote “inclusive communication,” Crux reported last week. According to the outlet, an “internal dossier” sent around offered guidelines signed by the European commissioner for equality, Helena Dalli of Malta, that recommended officials stop saying “merry Christmas” and use “happy holidays” instead. And no longer should people go on “Christmas holiday”; rather it should be “winter break.”
The document was withdrawn after outraged officials ripped the EU for its “absurd” advice, the U.K. Guardian reported.
And now Pope Francis has weighed in, calling the EU document an “anachronism” of “watered-down secularism,” Vatican News said.
But this isn’t the first time European strongmen have attempted to take down Christmas, Francis said.
“In history many, many dictatorships have tried to do so,” he said. “Think of Napoleon: from there … think of the Nazi dictatorship, the communist one … it is a fashion of a watered-down secularism, distilled water. … But this is something that throughout hasn’t worked.”
He noted that the EU must remember to consider the perspectives of each of its member nations and should not force every country into a monolithic worldview.
“The European Union must take in hand the ideals of the founding fathers, which were ideals of unity, of greatness, and be careful not to take the path of ideological colonisation,” the Pope said. “This could end up dividing the countries and [causing] the European Union to fail. The European Union must respect each country as it is structured within, the variety of countries, and not want to make them uniform. I don’t think it will do that, it wasn’t its intention, but be careful, because sometimes they come, and they throw projects like this one out there and they don’t know what to do.
“Each country has its own peculiarity, but each country is open to the others,” he continued. “The European Union: its sovereignty, the sovereignty of brothers in a unity that respects the individuality of each country. And be careful not to be vehicles of ideological colonisation. That is why [the issue] of Christmas is an anachronism.”