With so much of humanity sickened in soul and body by greed, self-centered indifference to suffering, inequality, polarization and violence, Pope Francis has wonderfully seized the moment by giving to our wounded world the balm of his new inspiring and challenging social encyclical letter titled Fratelli Tutti (“All Brothers: On Fraternity and Social Friendship”).

Pope Francis quickly gets to the point that the humanity is largely going in the wrong direction, and needs a radical transformative change of direction. He writes, “Just as I was writing this letter, the Covid-19 pandemic unexpectedly broke in and exposed our false securities. … If anyone thinks it was just about making what we were already doing work better, or that the only message is that we need to improve existing systems and rules, they are denying reality.”

Instead, the Holy Father is urging us to build a Gospel-centered fraternal global alternative that replaces our “throwaway culture” with the “culture of encounter.” Francis writes, “I very much desire that, in this time that we are given to live, recognizing the dignity of every human person, we can revive among all a worldwide aspiration to fraternity.”

But he emphasizes that tremendous obstacles stand in the way of establishing universal brotherhood, and that we must have the faith and courage to overcome them.

Francis laments that “Ancient conflicts long buried are breaking out anew, while instances of a myopic, extremist, resentful and aggressive nationalism are on the rise.”

He adds, “People are no longer felt as a primary value to be respected and protected, especially if they are poor or disabled, if they are not needed yet – like the unborn – or no longer needed – like the elderly.”

And stressing the equal dignity and rights of women to men, the pope challenges societies worldwide to not just talk the talk, but walk the walk.

The Holy Father warns against the widespread narrow-minded, unchristian notion that the territory beyond our village or country belongs to the “barbarian,” and that whoever “comes from there cannot be trusted,” and that new walls – including “walls in the heart" – must be erected for self-preservation against “them.”

With all our scientific and technological advances, the pontiff notes a global “moral deterioration” and a “weakening of spiritual values and responsibility.” As an example, the pope points to the “unacceptable silence on the international level” of countless children “emaciated from poverty and hunger.” This panorama, “does not appear to lead to a more humane future.”

Pope Francis strongly questions the “just-war theory”:

Here are two helpful short video commentary links https://bit.ly/30S7dZj and https://bit.ly/3nEuU12. But don’t stop there. Fratelli Tutti (All Brothers) is such a wise and holy roadmap to help us begin living as one human family, it needs to be read and prayerfully reflected on – best done one chapter at a time – (see: https://bit.ly/33OEUg0).

Pope Francis prophetically writes, “The pain, uncertainty and fear, and the realization of our own limitations, brought on by the pandemic have only made it all the more urgent that we rethink our styles of life, our relationships, the organization of our societies and, above all, the meaning of our existence.”

Hope No. 55:


Magliano is an internationally syndicated Catholic social justice and peace columnist. He is available to speak at diocesan or parish gatherings. Tony can be reached at tmag6@comcast.net.