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Religious Nationalism and Pope Francis’ ‘Culture of Encounter’
In recent years, religion has become increasingly present in discussions of international politics. 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.

This article sketches several examples of how religious nationalism threatens peace. It will then note several forms of faith-based resistance to religious nationalism. It will conclude by highlighting how Pope Francis’s “culture of encounter” can provide a remedy for such religious nationalism and can help build peace.

The most visible contemporary example of religion’s involvement leading to conflict is the tragic Russian war against Ukraine, initiated by President Vladimir Putin with the strong support of the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill. This war is being conducted with no regard for the ethical norms governing warfare or for the standards set out in international law. Ethically, the actions of Russia are violating both the jus ad bellum and jus in bello norms for the ethics of war laid out in the just war tradition.
© Union of Catholic Asian News 2024
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