Readers of this blog undoubtedly noted with interest the opening session of the Catholic Church’s Third General Congregation of the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops, meeting in the presence of His Holiness the Pope. You may, though, have missed the speech by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Dean of the College of Cardinals (a very senior Catholic, and a native of Piedmont).
Here’s a snippet – you may find the middle pararaph of interest. Clearly the Church is holding fast to the distinction between ‘patriotism’ (a Christian duty and, therefore, good) and ‘nationalism’ (very bad):
“Today we can see more clearly the enormity of the disasters provoked by nationalism and the exaltation of the concept of race. … How can we forget that also in Africa homicidal rage between different ethnic groups has devastated entire countries? …
I believe we should repeat to everyone, with greater insistence, that love of one’s nation (concretely, of one’s people, one’s compatriots) is certainly a Christian duty, but we also have to add that the deviation of nationalism is wholly un-Christian. …
Christianity favoured the coming together of the peoples of a certain region, giving life to the concept of a people or a nation, with its own specific cultural identity. Christianity, though, has always condemned any deformation in this concept of nation, deformations that frequently descend into nationalism or even racism, the true negation of Christian universality.”
(for a fuller report see, e.g., here )
I guess the question would be – what contribution can the serious study of nationalism make to promoting a political discourse that takes nationalism seriously (and not as some kind of ‘deviation’)?