Papal encyclical: a guide in the pandemic?
Fratelli tutti (All Brothers) is the name Pope Francis has given to his third encyclical. In his most recent work he outlines his vision of better politics and enhanced solidarity. The pandemic has forced us to be concerned "for everyone, rather than for the benefit of a few", the pontiff argues. Commentators discuss the meaning of the text in a social context.
Not populism but closeness to the people
The Pope is proposing a third way between individualism and populism, Andrea Riccardi, founder of the lay Christian movement Sant'Egidio, comments with approval in Corriere della Sera:
“Certainly one wonders whether it is not simplistic to speak of 'fraternity' and 'social friendship' in a world as complex as ours. ... 'Fratelli Tutti' proposes the globalization of fraternity as a way of rebuilding bonds, healing conflicts, affirming peace and looking together to the future. ... Central to the pope's vision is the idea of a 'closeness to the people' which in the name of fraternity draws a path between liberal individualism and populism: a people made up of intermediate communities that has a project, a dream of growth.”
Misplaced rage against the market economy
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung is ambivalent :
“It's good that Pope Francis stands up for the respect of human rights - all over the world. For in his Church, different laws apply. Human rights exist only within the bounds of a gender order that is supposedly unchangeable by God. It is also good that the Pope promotes more solidarity among people. But once again, the papal rage is directed against everything that is even remotely connected to the market economy and globalization. As far as we know, the socialism of the 20th and 21st centuries has neither reduced poverty nor made any significant contribution to the preservation of creation.”
An encounter with others
The work demonstrates the pope's willingness to open up to other religions, Tygodnik Powszechny writes:
“What is remarkable about this encyclical is that it mentions Ahmad al-Tayyeb, a Muslim and Grand Imam of Al-Azhar University, five times in the text (not in the footnotes!) as a source of inspiration. ... One can say that Francis (not for the first time) is matching his words with deeds. He speaks of a deep encounter with others, while refraining from disclosing the identity of his conversation partners.”
A counterdraft to American Catholicism
The Catholic Church is pursuing a completely different course in the US, The Irish Examiner notes:
“It would be interesting to be a fly on the wall when Pope Francis discusses these issues with the increasingly right-leaning leadership of American Catholicism. Epitomised by Trump's Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, this strand of Catholicism is hand-in-glove with Trump to roll back social legislation. Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, America's senior Catholic, effectively endorsed Trump when he gave his blessing to the Republican convention in August. A third of America's Catholics are Latino and that proportion will grow. They will recognise that the Faustian Pact between their Church and Trump shows no empathy with their lives.”