Religious fundamentalism keeps God at a distance, and keeps believers from building bridges with others, Pope Francis reflected on Sunday during a radio interview.
“Our God is a God who is close, who accompanies. Fundamentalists keep God away from accompanying his people, they divert their minds from him and transform him into an ideology. So in the name of this ideological god, they kill, they attack, destroy, slander. Practically speaking, they transform that God into a Baal, an idol,” he said in a radio interview that aired Sept. 13.
The Pope said that no religion is immune from the possibility of fundamentalism. He said fundamentalism, instead of creating a bridge, creates a wall that blocks encounter with another person. It seeks ways to disagree. With fundamentalism, he said, “you can’t have friendship between peoples.”
“A priest has to be a bridge, that’s why they call him a pontiff,” he said, alluding to the original, literal meaning of “pontifex” as “bridge-builder.”
The Pope also discussed his encyclical Laudato si', on care for our common home. “It’s obvious we’re mistreating creation. We’re not the friends of creation, we treat her sometimes like the worst enemy,” he said.