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Papal Encyclical Letter – Fratelli Tutti

Pope Francis released a new Papal Encyclical Letter entitled Fratelli Tutti of the Holy Father Francis ON THE FRATERNITY AND SOCIAL FRIENDSHIP

The encyclical represents one of the highest levels of church teachings and deserves our full prayer assent.  It is a magnificent text and doctrinal treasure.  It is also especially appropriate for us as persons who treasure each human life and the dignity of every  human person.  It was signed by our Holy Father on the memorial of St. Francis over the tomb of this great Saint of peace in Assisi.

Over the next several weeks we will present to you some of the highlights of this most important encyclical.  To read the complete encyclical go to https://tinyurl.com/y3u7z3cv

Fr. Len’s highlights of the Papal Encyclical Letter, continued (In October 25 Bulletin)

PANDEMICS AND OTHER CALAMITIES IN HISTORY
32. True, a worldwide tragedy like the Covid-19 pandemic momentarily revived the sense that we are a global community, …

35. All too quickly, however, we forget the lessons of history, “the teacher of life”.[34] Once this health crisis passes, our worst response would be to plunge even more deeply into feverish consumerism and new forms of egotistic self-preservation. God willing, after all this, we will think no longer in terms of “them” and “those”, but only “us”…

AN ABSENCE OF HUMAN DIGNITY ON THE BORDERS
37. Certain populist political regimes, as well as certain liberal economic approaches, maintain that an influx of migrants is to be prevented at all costs… Many migrants have fled from war, persecution and natural catastrophes. Others, rightly, “are seeking opportunities for themselves and their families. They dream of a better future and they want to create the conditions for achieving it”.

39. Then too, “in some host countries, migration causes fear and alarm, often fomented and exploited for political purposes. This can lead to a xenophobic mentality, as people close in on themselves, and it needs to be addressed decisively”… For Christians, this way of thinking and acting is unacceptable, since it sets certain political preferences above deep convictions of our faith: the inalienable dignity of each human person regardless of origin, race or religion, and the supreme law of fraternal love.

THE ILLUSION OF COMMUNICATION

Shameless aggression

46. We should also recognize that destructive forms of fanaticism are at times found among religious believers, including Christians; they too “can be caught up in networks of verbal violence through the internet and the various forums of digital communication. Even in Catholic media, limits can be overstepped, defamation and slander can become commonplace, and all ethical standards and respect for the good name of others can be abandoned”.[48] How can this contribute to the fraternity that our common Father asks of us?

HOPE

55. …Hope is bold; it can look beyond personal convenience, the petty securities and compensations which limit our horizon, and it can open us up to grand ideals that make life more beautiful and worthwhile”.[52] Let us continue, then, to advance along the paths of hope.

CHAPTER TWO
A STRANGER ON THE ROAD

The Context

62. …Saint Paul, recognizing the temptation of the earliest Christian communities to form closed and isolated groups, urged his disciples to abound in love “for one another and for all” (1 Thess 3:12)…

First set of Fr. Len’s highlights of the Papal Encyclical (In October 18 Bulletin)

WITHOUT BORDERS

4. Francis did not wage a war of words aimed at imposing doctrines; he simply spread the love of God. He understood that “God is love and those who abide in love abide in God” (1 Jn 4:16). In this way, he became a father to all and inspired the vision of a fraternal society…

5.  …In the preparation of Laudato Si’, I had a source of inspiration in my brother Bartholomew, the Orthodox Patriarch, who has spoken forcefully of our need to care for creation. In this case, I have felt particularly encouraged by the Grand Imam Ahmad Al-Tayyeb, with whom I met in Abu Dhabi, where we declared that “God has created all human beings equal in rights, duties and dignity, and has called them to live together as brothers and sisters”.[5] This was no mere diplomatic gesture, but a reflection born of dialogue and common commitment…

7. As I was writing this letter, the Covid-19 pandemic unexpectedly erupted, exposing our false securities. Aside from the different ways that various countries responded to the crisis, their inability to work together became quite evident…       Anyone who thinks that the only lesson to be learned was the need to improve what we were already doing, or to refine existing systems and regulations, is denying reality.

CHAPTER ONE

DARK CLOUDS OVER A CLOSED WORLD

SHATTERED DREAMS

11. Our own days, however, seem to be showing signs of a certain regression. Ancient conflicts thought long buried are breaking out anew, while instances of a myopic, extremist, resentful and aggressive nationalism are on the rise. In some countries, a concept of popular and national unity influenced by various ideologies is creating new forms of selfishness and a loss of the social sense under the guise of defending national interests…

13. … A kind of “deconstructionism”, whereby human freedom claims to create everything starting from zero, is making headway in today’s culture… He needs the young to be shallow, uprooted and distrustful, so that they can trust only in his promises and act according to his plans. That is how various ideologies operate: they destroy (or deconstruct) all differences so that they can reign unopposed. To do so, however, they need young people who have no use for history, who spurn the spiritual and human riches inherited from past generations, and are ignorant of everything that came before them”.[10]

14. … Nowadays, what do certain words like democracy, freedom, justice or unity really mean? They have been bent and shaped to serve as tools for domination, as meaningless tags that can be used to justify any action.

LACKING A PLAN FOR EVERYONE

15. The best way to dominate and gain control over people is to spread despair and discouragement, even under the guise of defending certain values. Today, in many countries, hyperbole, extremism and polarization have become political tools…

16. …We are growing ever more distant from one another, while the slow and demanding march towards an increasingly united and just world is suffering a new and dramatic setback.

17. …Often the voices raised in defence of the environment are silenced or ridiculed, using apparently reasonable arguments that are merely a screen for special interests…

A “throwaway” world

20. … a readiness to discard others finds expression in vicious attitudes that we thought long past, such as racism, which retreats underground only to keep reemerging.

Insufficiently universal human rights

22. …In today’s world, many forms of injustice persist, fed by reductive anthropological visions and by a profit-based economic model that does not hesitate to exploit, discard and even kill human beings. While one part of humanity lives in opulence, another part sees its own dignity denied, scorned or trampled upon, and its fundamental rights discarded or violated”…

23. Similarly, the organization of societies worldwide is still far from reflecting clearly that women possess the same dignity and identical rights as men…

27. …Once more, we encounter “the temptation to build a culture of walls, to raise walls, walls in the heart, walls on the land, in order to prevent this encounter with other cultures, with other people. And those who raise walls will end up as slaves within the very walls they have built. They are left without horizons, for they lack this interchange with others”.

GLOBALIZATION AND PROGRESS WITHOUT A SHARED ROADMAP

30. In today’s world, the sense of belonging to a single human family is fading, and the dream of working together for justice and peace seems an outdated utopia…