Pursuing the dream of universal brotherhood

21/10/2020

A reflection on the Encyclical "Fratelli tutti"

Brotherhood cannot be taken for granted, it is not the fruit of flesh and blood, nor of the will (John 1:12-13). This is especially true for fraternity understood in such an inclusive way that it embraces all of humanity.

At the heart of the rich, complex, and extensive reflection that Pope Francis offers us in Fratelli Tutti, we find the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-27). It proposes "compassion" and "becoming a neighbor" as the sensitivity and the way of acting that makes it possible to heal those wounds that each person carries, not to cling to the role that urges us to "pass by" wounded people, to renounce all violence that hurts or kills the fraternity and to take responsibility for one another.

In the face of the tendency to divide us into groups of peoples or nations, to polarize public life, to separate us because of the religions we profess, because of the color of our skin, or the country we come from... the invitation is to come closer, to enter into communication, to dialogue, to welcome in solidarity... to become brothers and sisters.

We accept this invitation when we open ourselves up to the possibility of sharing the same dream of a better world, in which the dignity of all is recognized, in which relationships of solidarity are generated in the search for the Common Good. To share a dream that becomes a source of personal and social energy to open ourselves to the dialogue that leads to produce the necessary changes to generate a culture of encounter in which spaces and hearts are opened to the construction of inclusive fraternity.

Pope Francis points to the weakening of politics as a necessary instrument to define and achieve the common objectives of nations and the world as a whole. Politics is weakened by the populisms of the right and left because they substitute for the people in decision-making; by the hegemony of the market which prefers to increase the profits of the few over the just distribution of wealth; by recourse to war and other forms of violence to impose particular interests. It is also due to the ignorance of human rights that remain in solemn declarations.
We need better politics.

Universal brotherhood is possible when we live in peace. Pope Francis insists on the urgency of opening paths of peace and above all of finding "artisans of peace". Peace requires justice that is achieved from the recognition of truth. The path to peace is illuminated by the truth within the reach of all people. Peace implies overcoming poverty and its causes, that is, the cessation of exclusion and the incorporation of all into social, economic and political life.

Fratelli Tutti points out some key requirements to advance towards justice and peace: the recovery of memory, capable of assuming the past in order to free the future from one's own dissatisfactions, confusions or projections. The abolition of the death penalty, which he considers simply inadmissible. The complete renunciation of war as a way of resolving conflicts, imposing ideologies or socio-political regimes. "Every war," the encyclical states, "leaves the world worse than it was before. War is a failure of politics and of humanity, a shameful capitulation, a stinging defeat in the face of the forces of evil," for it is "the negation of all rights and a dramatic assault on the environment."

The path to brotherhood requires openness to reconciliation and forgiveness. To this requirement all the religions of the world can contribute and render a precious service to humanity.

Published by Ecclesia Magazine
Year LXXX - NO. 4,048
October 10, 2020