On October 4, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, Pope Francis released his third encyclical, titled “Fratelli Tutti,” and subtitled “on fraternity and social friendship.” The encyclical was signed October 3, on Pope Francis’s visit to the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, Italy. Following “Laudato Si’”— Pope Francis’s encyclical on care for our common home —“Fratelli Tutti” takes on other issues. Pope Francis writes, “I offer this social encyclical as a modest contribution to continued reflection, in the hope that in the face of present-day attempts to eliminate or ignore others, we may prove capable of responding with a new vision of fraternity and social friendship that will not remain at the level of words.”
He calls on us to acknowledge the dignity of every person and the way the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed “false securities,” as well as division across the world. The encyclical also includes a reflection on the Gospel parable of the Good Samaritan, which Pope Francis presents in the form of the Spiritual Exercises, a prayer developed by St. Ignatius of Loyola.
Cardinal Michael Czerny, SJ, told America, “I know that ‘Fratelli Tutti,’ like all other documents of the social teaching, will remain forever as part of the heritage of depository of the Church, but we receive it at this particular moment in history when people feel we’re ‘on the brink’ and can’t go back and, as Pope Francis tells us: ‘Don’t even think of trying to go back.’”