A Look at the New Papal Encyclical on Human Fraternity

The Vatican released a new encyclical letter over the weekend, Fratelli Tutti, on fraternity and social friendship. This document by the Holy Father dives into the need for increased love, friendship, and respect for our brothers and sisters.

Archbishop José Gomez, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, released a statement on behalf of the USCCB welcoming the encyclical, calling it “an important contribution to the Church’s rich tradition of social doctrine.”

He reflected on the document, noting that Pope Francis had reminded the faithful that there are widespread implications for how they live their lives and organize their societies and economies.

“For the Church, the Pope is challenging us to overcome the individualism in our culture and to serve our neighbors in love, seeing Jesus Christ in every person, and seeking a society of justice and mercy, compassion and mutual concern,” said Archbishop Gomez.

Fratelli Tutti lays out the present challenges to unity and fraternity, including the “throwaway culture” to which Pope Francis often refers. He spoke about the Christian’s duty to reach out with mercy and love to others, and to welcome the stranger.

It’s a matter of moving outside of our own comfort zones, breaking the habit to remain within a small close-knit circle and instead branch out to our fellow man in need of friendship and community.

Pope Francis spoke of concrete measures that nations, governments, and communities can make to build universal fraternity and create an economy and society that is oriented towards the common good—not simply the good of a few elite.

A highly reported on section in the encyclical refers to capital punishment. Pope Francis noted very clearly, “Today we state clearly that ‘the death penalty is inadmissible’ and the Church is firmly committed to calling for its abolition worldwide.”

The Holy Father concludes the document with a call for unity among religions in working together for the common good.

“In the power of the risen Lord, [Mary] wants to give birth to a new world, where all of us are brothers and sisters, where there is room for all those whom our societies discard, where justice and peace are resplendent,” wrote Pope Francis.

Read Fratelli Tutti at Vatican.va.

Lindsey Kettner serves as a Digital Media Producer at Relevant Radio®. She is a wife, mother, and graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she studied journalism and advertising. She writes daily at relevantradio.com and on the free Relevant Radio mobile app.