Five things to look for in Pope Francis’ new encyclical, ‘Fratelli Tutti’
Oct 6, 2020 by Thomas Reese in
…..if you want to understand Francis, take your time. Do not try to read more than a chapter in one sitting. Give the text time to marinate. Each chapter takes time to digest……….
Chapter 1 describes the sad state of the world. It is depressing, yet the pope offers hope. “Difficulties that seem overwhelming,” he writes, “are opportunities for growth, not excuses for a glum resignation that can lead only to acquiescence.”
Chapter 2, a meditation on the parable of the “Good Samaritan,” could make good material for parish discussion groups.
Chapters 3 and 4 present the pope’s fundamental vision. “The spiritual stature of a person’s life is measured by love,” he writes. This love must extend beyond family, tribe and nation to strangers, migrants and all people into a social friendship where the worth of every person is acknowledged. These chapters are foundational to Francis’ approach to humanity and its problems.
Chapter 5 presents the pope’s political philosophy, Chapter 6 is on the importance of social and cultural values, and Chapter 7 deals with reconciliation and peace building. One can only wish politicians and world leaders read these chapters, which stress that we should see everyone as our brother and sister and treat them with kindness and respect.
Finally, Chapter 8 speaks of the role of religion in building fraternity. This chapter will be especially useful for ecumenical and inter-religious dialogs.
… What he does say about women is positive: “The organization of societies worldwide is still far from reflecting clearly that women possess the same dignity and identical rights as men.” He also condemns violence against women and human trafficking. The encyclical sees men and women as equal partners in dealing with the world’s problems.
The encyclical does express strong views on capital punishment, war and economics, but the pope writes with nuance. He offers no simple solutions, instead encouraging dialog and inclusion: Everyone must be brought into the conversation and decision-making process to deal with the world’s challenges.
… He also speaks eloquently of kindness that involves “speaking words of comfort, strength, consolation and encouragement” and not “words that demean, sadden, anger or show scorn.”
For Francis, however, kindness is not just a personal virtue, but something that needs to permeate culture. Because kindness “entails esteem and respect for others, once kindness becomes a culture within society it transforms lifestyles, relationships and the ways ideas are discussed and compared,” he writes. “Kindness facilitates the quest for consensus; it opens new paths where hostility and conflict would burn all bridges.”
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https://www.catholicjhb.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/AD-News-Oct-2020.pdf for the October 2020 AdNews