Creating this doc, "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)
"As I was writing this letter, the Covid-19 pandemic unexpectedly erupted, exposing our false securities..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."(7
"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." - @Pontifex (FT 11)
"Opening up to the world” is an expression that has been co-opted by the economic and financial sector and is now used exclusively of openness to foreign interests or to the freedom of economic powers to invest without obstacles or complications in all countries. (12 and )
"This kind of globalism" strengthens powerful actors and harms the poor and vulnerable. "Political life becomes increasingly fragile in the face of transnational economic powers that operate with the principle of “divide and conquer”. (12)
"Hyperbole, extremism and polarization have become political tools. Employing a strategy of ridicule, suspicion and relentless criticism, in a variety of ways one denies the right of others to exist or to have an opinion. Their share of the truth and their values are rejected"(15
KW: Does that sound like 'cancel culture?' Maybe, but be very careful of interpreting Vatican docs in light of U.S. concerns-of-the-moment. An example of this attitude in 17 is dismissing voices defending the environment.
Throwaway culture discards the poor, disabled, unborn and elderly. "We have seen what happened with the elderly in certain places in our world as a result of the coronavirus. They did not have to die that way. Yet something similar had long been occurring during heat waves." (19)
"This way of discarding others can take a variety of forms, such as an obsession with reducing #labor costs with no concern for its grave consequences, since the #unemployment that it directly generates leads to the expansion of #poverty."- #FratelliTutti 20
. @Pontifex has been drawing attention to "throwaway culture" since his first solo-authored document #EvangeliiGaudium. Another instance is racism, which continues to arise and remind us we have not made the progress we like to think (20)
"The claim the modern world has reduced poverty [measures] poverty w/ criteria from the past that do not correspond to present-day realities. In other times, for example, lack of access to electric energy was not considered a sign of poverty, nor was it a source of hardship." (21
Hear this in light of #LaudatoSi : the answer to environmental crisis is not shutting the poor out from goods the rich world enjoys, but finding new paths to authentic development.
"War, terrorist attacks, racial or religious persecution, and many other affronts to human dignity are judged differently, depending on how convenient it proves for certain, primarily economic, interests." - #FratelliTutti 25
"It is hard to imagine that this global disaster [ #Covid_19] is unrelated to our way of approaching reality, our claim to be absolute masters of our own lives and of all that exists.I do not want to speak of divine retribution..The world is itself crying out in rebellion."(FT 34
"No one will ever openly deny that [migrants] are human beings, yet in practice..we can show that we consider them less worthy, less important, less human. For Christians, this way of thinking and acting is unacceptable." - @Pontifex #FratelliTutti 39
Digital media create the illusion of communication but ultimately leave us more distant from one another...
..."They lack the physical gestures, facial expressions, moments of silence, body language and even the smells, the trembling of hands, the blushes and perspiration that speak to us and are a part of human communication." (42)
KW: Weird? A little, but I love the concrete language Francis uses to describe human embodied encounter. Loving humans is loving embodied beings.
On my authority as a theologian I am 95% sure this is the first time "perspiration" has appeared in a papal document.
On my authority as a theologian I am 95% sure this is the first time "perspiration" has appeared in a papal document.
Social med enables"insults, abuse, defamation and verbal violence...Things that until a few years ago could not be said by anyone without risking the loss of universal respect can now be said with impunity, and in the crudest of terms, even by some political figures."(44-5)
Just to clarify, 44-5 are the paragraph numbers in #FratelliTutti, not my commentary. The eye emojis are my commentary.
"True wisdom demands an encounter with reality" (47) and our ability to shape the information we encounter on digital media "isolat[es] us from the real world in which we are living."
On to ch 2, a meditation on the Good Samaritan parable. @Pontifex introduces it w/"Although this Letter is addressed to all people of good will, regardless of their religious convictions, the parable is one that any of us can relate to and find challenging."
He gets something #theology teachers know well: Christian symbols and stories can be off-putting to people of other or no faiths who have experienced these weaponized against them.
"The parable shows us how a community can be rebuilt by men and women who identify with the vulnerability of others, who reject the creation of a society of exclusion, and act instead as neighbours, lifting up and rehabilitating the fallen for the sake of the common good....
...At the same time, it warns us about the attitude of those who think only of themselves and fail to shoulder the inevitable responsibilities of life as it is." #FratelliTutti 67
"The decision to include or exclude those lying wounded along the roadside can serve as a criterion for judging every economic, political, social and religious project." #FratelliTutti 69
"All of us have in ourselves something of the wounded man, something of the robber, something of the passers-by, and something of the Good Samaritan." #FratelliTutti 69
Interpreting the parable, @Pontifex identifies the thieves with social injustice: "the dark shadows of neglect and violence in the service of petty interests of power, gain and division." (72)
The passers-by "were religious, devoted to the worship of God..This detail should not be overlooked. It shows that belief in God and the worship of God are not enough to ensure that we are actually living in a way pleasing to God. #FratelliTutti 74
"Paradoxically, those who claim to be unbelievers can sometimes put God’s will into practice better than believers." - #FratelliTutti 74
KW: I know this is not the first time Francis has made this point, but I can't remember where right now. EG? The sensitivity to those of other or no faith stands out so much for me in this doc.
"“Robbers” usually find secret allies in those who “pass by and look the other way”. There is a certain interplay between those who manipulate and cheat society, and those who, while claiming to be detached and impartial critics, live off that system and its benefits." (75)
"I sometimes wonder why, in light of" Jesus' self-identification with the stranger, "it took so long for the Church unequivocally to condemn slavery and various forms of violence (86)." ACKNOWLEDGING THIS = HUGE!!! You mean the Church hasn't "always taught?"
On to Chapter 3. Human being is defined in relationship, in "going out of ourselves," openness to the other.
91-94 a lovely explanation of Thomistic virtue. "Saint Thomas Aquinas sought to describe the love made possible by God’s grace as a movement outwards towards another, whereby we consider “the beloved as somehow united to ourselves”. (93)
"An aspect of universal openness in love is existential rather than geographical..to do with our daily efforts to expand our circle of friends, to reach those who, even though they are close to me, I do not naturally consider a part of my circle of interests." #FratelliTutti 97
"When fraternity is not consciously cultivated..thru recognition of the values of reciprocity and mutual enrichment, Liberty becomes nothing more than a condition for living as we will, completely free to choose to whom or what we will belong, or simply to possess or exploit.(103
"Individualism does not make us more free, more equal, more fraternal..Radical individualism is a virus that is extremely difficult to eliminate, for it is clever. It makes us believe that everything consists in giving free rein to our own ambitions." #FratelliTutti 105
"Every human being has the right to live with dignity and to develop integrally..Some societies accept this principle in part. They agree that opportunities should be available to everyone, but then go on to say that everything depends on the individual." #FratelliTutti 107-108
"No. What we need in fact are states and civil institutions that are present and active, that look beyond the free and efficient working of certain economic, political or ideological systems, and are primarily concerned with individuals and the common good." #FratelliTutti 108
"A truly human and fraternal society will be capable of ensuring in an efficient and stable way that each of its members is accompanied at every stage of life. Not only by providing for their basic needs, but by enabling them to give the best of themselves." #FratelliTutti 110
Moral virtues needed to promote universal relationship include benevolentia (willing the good of others) and solidarity (making others' concerns my own), 112-117.
Re-envisaging the social role of property! Yes, here we go!
"The principle of the common use of created goods is the “first principle of the whole ethical and social order”; it is a natural and inherent right that takes priority over others." #FratelliTutti 120
"The right of some to free enterprise or #market #freedom cannot supersede the rights of peoples and the dignity of the poor, or.. respect for the natural environment, for if we make something our own, it is only to administer it for the good of all. #FratelliTutti 122
"Seen from the standpoint of..the first principle of the common destination of goods, we can then say that each country also belongs to the foreigner, inasmuch as a territory’s goods must not be denied to a needy person coming from elsewhere." #FratelliTutti 124
Citing @USCCB !
"If all people are my brothers and sisters, and if the world truly belongs to everyone, then it matters little whether my neighbour was born in my country or elsewhere. My own country also shares responsibility for his or her development" with many ways of fulfilling it. FT 125
Borders and Their Limits. !!!
"Ideally, unnecessary migration ought be avoided; this entails creating in countries of origin conditions needed for a dignified life..[Until then]we are obliged to respect the right of all individuals to find a place that meets their basic needs and those of their families." 129
"Our response to the arrival of migrating persons can be summarized by four words: welcome, protect, promote and integrate." - @Pontifex #FratelliTutti 129
Going on with specific concrete steps to ensure migrants' dignity, including access to housing and bank accounts (130); citizenship for longterm residents (131)
Encounter between cultures enriches both; as a specific example, "Latino culture is a ferment of values and possibilities that can greatly enrich the United States." 135
"If we are troubled by the extinction of certain species, we should be all the more troubled that in some parts of our world individuals or peoples are prevented from developing their potential and beauty by poverty or other structural limitations." #FratelliTutti 137
"We need to attain a global juridical, political and economic order which can increase and give direction to international cooperation for the development of all peoples .. this presupposes giving poorer nations an effective voice in shared decision-making." 138
While true inclusion promises many benefits, we should also remember gratuitousness, doing good things not for reward (139-141). Inside baseball alert: 3 grafs on gratuitousness without citing BXVI? interesting.
Warning against "false openness to the universal" which means we don't value our own, and "local narcissism" rooted in "fear of the other" (146-147).
Chapter 5, A better kind of politics.
"Lack of concern for the vulnerable can hide behind a populism that exploits them demagogically for its own purposes, or a liberalism that serves the economic interests of the powerful." @Pontifex, #FratelliTutti 155
This is really interesting. @Pontifex criticizes use of "populism" as a scare word, because "people" is a concept we desperately need. (157-158)
"‘People’ has a deeper meaning that cannot be set forth in purely logical terms. To be part of a people is to be part of a shared identity arising from social and cultural bonds. Not something automatic, but rather a slow, difficult process..of advancing towards a common project"
KW: On another super inside baseball note, here (158) @Pontifex is quoting his own interview with @antoniospadaro. Very interesting to see a medium we think of as informal and ad hoc elevated as a source for official teaching.
"Closed populist groups distort the word “people”, since they are not talking about a true people..A living and dynamic people, a people with a future, is one constantly open to a new synthesis through its ability to welcome differences." #FratelliTutti 160
"The biggest issue is #employment. The truly “popular” thing – since it promotes the good of the people – is to provide everyone with the opportunity to nurture the seeds that God has planted in each of us: our talents, our initiative and our innate resources." #FratelliTutti 162
"Neither the notion of “people” nor that of “neighbour” can be considered purely abstract or romantic, in such a way that social organization, science and civic institutions can be rejected or treated with contempt." #FratelliTutti 163
. @pontifex: "My criticism of the technocratic paradigm involves more than simply thinking that if we control its excesses everything will be fine...
..It has to do with human weakness, the proclivity to selfishness that is part of what the Christian tradition refers to as “concupiscence”: the human inclination to be concerned only with myself, my group, my own petty interests." 166
"The #marketplace, by itself, cannot resolve every problem, however much we are asked to believe this dogma of #neoliberal faith." - @Pontifex #FratelliTutti 168
"Neoliberalism simply reproduces itself by resorting to the magic theories of “spillover” or “trickle” as the only solution to societal problems..The alleged “spillover” does not resolve the #inequality that gives rise to new forms of violence." #FratelliTutti 168
"The fragility of world systems in the face of the #pandemic has demonstrated that not everything can be resolved by #market #freedom." - @Pontifex #FratelliTutti 168
The 21st century “is witnessing a weakening of the power of nation states, chiefly because the economic and financial sectors, being transnational, tend to prevail over the political." Need "stronger + more efficient international institutions.. empowered to impose sanctions” 172
"For many people today, politics is a distasteful word...Yet can our world function without politics? Can there be an effective process of growth towards universal fraternity and social peace without a sound political life?" #FratelliTutti 176
KW: (nods vigorously in 2020 US)
"Good #politics will seek ways of building communities at every level of social life, in order to recalibrate and reorient #globalization and thus avoid its disruptive effects." #FratelliTutti 182
"It is an act of #charity to assist someone suffering, but it is also an act of charity, even if we do not know that person, to work to change the social conditions that caused his or her suffering." @Pontifex #FratelliTutti 186
"If someone helps an elderly person cross a river, that is a fine act of #charity. The politician, on the other hand, builds a bridge, and that too is an act of charity." @Pontifex #FratelliTutti 186
And what do we build bridges instead of, gang? WALLS! https://uscatholic.org/articles/201905/build-bridges-not-walls-says-pope-francis/
Build bridges, not walls, says Pope Francis | U.S. Catholic magazine - Faith in Real Life
At the beginning of his papacy Francis famously spoke about his desire to lead a church that was willing to go to the margins on behalf of the oppressedhttps://uscatholic.org/articles/201905/build-bridges-not-walls-says-pope-francis/
"Only a gaze transformed by charity can enable the dignity of others to be recognized and the poor to be acknowledged and valued in their dignity, respected in their identity and culture, + truly integrated into society. That is the heart of the authentic spirit of politics." 187
Dialogue is crucial, but far from the "parallel monologues" of social media (198-202):
"Discussion is often manipulated by powerful special interests that seek to tilt public opinion unfairly in their favour. This kind of manipulation can be exercised not only by governments, but also in economics, politics, communications, religion and in other spheres." 201
Since I already cautioned on the danger of interpreting Vatican docs in light of US specific concerns, I heroically resisted the temptation to tag anyone in that last tweet.
"When individuals or groups are consistent in their thinking, defend their values and convictions, and develop their arguments, this surely benefits society. Yet, this can only occur to the extent that there is genuine dialogue and openness to others." #FratelliTutti 203
"The solution is not #relativism. Under the guise of tolerance, relativism ultimately leaves the interpretation of moral values to those in power, to be defined as they see fit." #FratelliTutti 206
"We need to learn how to unmask the various ways that the truth is manipulated, distorted and concealed in public and private discourse. What we call “truth” .. is primarily the search for the solid foundations sustaining our decisions and our laws." #FratelliTutti 208
Unless we unmask the manipulation of truth, "is it not conceivable that those fundamental human rights which we now consider unassailable will be denied by those in power, once they have gained the “consensus” of an apathetic or intimidated population?" #FratelliTutti 209
We can dialogue to consensus on fundamental truths. "The dignity of others is to be respected in all circumstances, not because that dignity is something we have invented or imagined, but because human beings possess an intrinsic worth superior to that of material objects." 213
"To agnostics, this foundation could prove sufficient to confer a solid and stable universal validity on basic and non-negotiable ethical principles that could serve to prevent further catastrophes. As believers, we are convinced that human nature was created by God..." 214
#FratelliTutti 206-214 is such a nice articulation of the possibility of achieving the goals of #Catholic social thought in pluralistic societies through dialogue. A US scholar who set this forth very well, even developed it, is John Courtney Murray
I'm very interested to see @Pontifex citing rich-world sources (US and Australia on a quick glance) more here than has sometimes been the case. It feels deliberate
"I have frequently called for the growth of a culture of encounter capable of transcending our differences and divisions. This means working to create a many-faceted polyhedron whose different sides form a variegated unity, in which “the whole is greater than the part”. (215)
The polyhedron image is new
"Social peace...calls for the ability to recognize other people’s right to be themselves and to be different. This recognition, as it becomes a culture, makes possible the creation of a social covenant." #FratelliTutti 217-218
"A false notion of tolerance has to give way to a dialogic realism on the part of men and women who remain faithful to their own principles while recognizing that others also have the right to do likewise. This is made possible by love alone." #FratelliTutti 221
Opposing groups "have to learn how to cultivate a penitential memory, one that can accept the past in order not to cloud the future with their own regrets, problems and plans." #FratelliTutti 226. Penitential memory--there's a lot to learn from there.
"Building social friendship does not only call for rapprochement between groups who took different sides at some troubled period of history, but also for a renewed encounter with the most impoverished and vulnerable sectors of society. " #FratelliTutti 233
"Often, the more vulnerable members of society are the victims of unfair generalizations. If the poor and dispossessed react with attitudes that appear antisocial, we should realize that in many cases those reactions are born of a history of scorn and social exclusion." FT 234
"Forgiveness and reconciliation are central themes in Christianity and in other religions. Yet there is a risk that an inadequate understanding of these profound convictions can lead to fatalism, apathy and injustice, or even intolerance and violence." #FratelliTutti 237
"Christ’s words do not encourage us to seek conflict, but simply to endure it when it inevitably comes, lest deference to others, for the sake of supposed peace in our families or society, should detract from our own fidelity." #FratelliTutti 240
"We are called to love everyone, without exception; at the same time, loving an oppressor does not mean allowing him to keep oppressing us. True love for an oppressor means seeking ways to make him cease his oppression." #FratelliTutti 241
"When conflicts are not resolved but kept buried in the past, silence can lead to complicity in grave misdeeds and sins. Authentic reconciliation does not flee from conflict, but is achieved in conflict, resolving it through dialogue and open, honest and patient negotiation." 244
"Of those who have endured much unjust and cruel suffering, a sort of “social forgiveness” must not be demanded..It is moving to see forgiveness shown by those who are able, but also humanly understandable in the case of those who cannot." #FratelliTutti 246
We must never forget the Shoah, atomic bombs, "the slave trade and the ethnic killings that continue in various countries, as well as the many other historical events that make us ashamed of our humanity. They need to be remembered, always and ever anew." #FratelliTutti 247-249
"Those who truly forgive do not forget. Instead, they choose not to yield to the same destructive force that caused them so much suffering..This does not mean impunity." 251-2
"When injustices have occurred on both sides, it is important to take into account whether they were in any way comparable. Violence perpetrated by the state, using its structures and power, is not on the same level as that perpetrated by particular groups." #FratelliTutti 253
"War can easily be chosen by invoking all sorts of allegedly humanitarian, defensive or precautionary excuses, and even resorting to the manipulation of information. In recent decades, every single war has been ostensibly “justified”." #FratelliTutti 258
The Church's support for legitimate military #Defense has been wrongly manipulated against its intent in modern times. #FratelliTutti 258
"We can no longer think of #war as a solution, because its risks will probably always be greater than its supposed benefits. It is very difficult nowadays to invoke the rational criteria elaborated in earlier centuries to speak of the possibility of “just war." #FratelliTutti 258
Taking a break, back soon!
"With the money spent on weapons..let us establish a global fund that can finally put an end to hunger and favor development in the most impoverished countries, so their citizens will not resort to violent/illusory solutions, or have to leave their countries." #FratelliTutti 262
"Saint John Paul II stated clearly and firmly that the death penalty is inadequate from a moral standpoint and no longer necessary from that of penal justice.There can be no stepping back from this position." #FratelliTutti 263
"Today we state clearly that “the #deathpenalty is inadmissible” and the Church is firmly committed to calling for its abolition worldwide." #FratelliTutti 263
KW: I saw an early take that said FT changes/strengthens teaching on the death penalty? No...as this para.makes clear.
KW: I saw an early take that said FT changes/strengthens teaching on the death penalty? No...as this para.makes clear.
Thread within a thread: #PopeFrancis on state #Violence with clear implications for US #PoliceBrutality and the just claims of #BlackLivesMatter . This is from #FratelliTutti para. 266-267.
"In some political sectors and certain media, public and private violence and revenge are incited, not only against those responsible for committing crimes, but also against those suspected, whether proven or not, of breaking the law." - @Pontifex