On Sunday, October 4th, the feast day of Saint Francis of Assissi, Pope Francis released a brand new encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, which means in English “we are all brothers and sisters.”
Pope Francis’ third encyclical begins:
“FRATELLI TUTTI”. With these words, Saint Francis of Assisi addressed his brothers and sisters and proposed to them a way of life marked by the flavour of the Gospel. Of the counsels Francis offered, I would like to select the one in which he calls for a love that transcends the barriers of geography and distance, and declares blessed all those who love their brother “as much when he is far away from him as when he is with him”. In his simple and direct way, Saint Francis expressed the essence of a fraternal openness that allows us to acknowledge, appreciate and love each person, regardless of physical proximity, regardless of where he or she was born or lives.
The encyclical is made up of 8 chapters and over 40,000 words. I have only begun to read it, but I am very excited about what I have read so far. The introduction concludes with:
It is my desire that, in this our time, by acknowledging the dignity of each human person, we can contribute to the rebirth of a universal aspiration to fraternity. Fraternity between all men and women. … Let us dream, then, as a single human family, as fellow travelers sharing the same flesh, as children of the same earth which is our common home, each of us bringing the richness of his or her beliefs and convictions, each of us with his or her own voice, brothers and sisters all.
After the introduction, Fratelli Tutti begins by taking an accounting of society’s ills and its broken systems. Pope Francis, or course, does more than just account for what’s wrong with the world. Most of Fratelli Tutti is devoted to Pope Francis providing a prescription for how to heal our world and its broken relationships.
I look forward to digging deeper into Fratelli Tutti and hope to write more about this exciting document in future columns. But you don’t have to wait for my writings on the encyclical; you will find the full text of Fratelli Tutti here:
Working together, we can help take care of our common home.