Pope signs new Encyclical “Fratelli tutti” on St Francis’s tomb in Assisi

On the anniversary of St Francis of Assisi’s death, Pope Francis celebrates Mass before the Saint’s tomb and signs his Encyclical “Fratelli tutti”.

By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp


Pope Francis went on Saturday to Assisi for the fourth time during his pontificate. There he signed his new Encyclical Fratelli tutti, before the tomb of St Francis of Assisi, after celebrating Holy Mass.


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  1. Eddie Finnegan says:

    So where are the ‘ordinary five-eighths’, the fratelli and fratelle? The Church, even in Assisi, would look pretty odd without them, to paraphrase Newman.
    Apart from Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, the reporter, I’ve counted: 1 pope;
    2 monasteries; 1 bishop; 1 cardinal; 2 Franciscan priests; about 20 friars; a few women religious; 1 monsignor (“he oversees everything”); 2 more translating priests; 1 Franciscan Convent.

    Maybe the rest of us get a walk-on role inside the covers of ‘Fratelli Tutti’.

  2. Eddie Finnegan says:

    I think the Fratelli Tutti Infographics are already beginning to answer any of our doubts about the optics of the Italian title or the Vatican News snippet. Let’s give this Letter a fair wind. The full text in English is now available on the Irish Bishops’ Website & Twitter.

  3. Joe O'Leary says:

    The title of the Encyclical is in Italian though the text is in Spanish, and it will be known as “Fratelli tutti” just as the other one that also used a quote from St Francis is known as “Laudato si'”

    It’s quite an existential document. #7 says that as he was writing it Covid-19 burst in, accentuating the social fractures the letter is addressing. #11 can be read as a blast at Brexit. #13 takes a potshot at de-constructionism, equated with ignorance of history or imposition of one-sided individualist ideology. #19 links abandonment of the aged with weak natality, and again finds this illustrated by Covid-19. A list of threats to human freedom and dignity culminates in the diagnosis of a failing sense that we are all members of the same race, all sharing the same boat (#30). Things become more focused in sections on “pandemics and other scourges of history”, migration, and the “shameless aggressivity” enabled by the social media.

    #44 “At the same time that people preserve their consumerist and comfortable isolation, they choose a constant and feverish connection. This favours the boiling of unusual forms of aggressiveness, insults, mistreatment, disqualification, verbal lashes to destroy the figure of the other, in a debauchery that could not exist in body-to-body contact without ending up destroying each other. Social aggressiveness finds in mobile devices and computers a space for expansion without equal.”

    Living in a maelstrom of such attacks, Francis knows whereof he speaks.

    Ch. 2 exegetes the Good Samaritan and ch. 3 pleads for a truly open society. In ch. 4 dialogue with Oriental cultures is urged:

    #136 “Widening our gaze, with the Grand Imam Ahmad Al-Tayyeb we recall that «the relationship between the West and the East is an indisputable mutual need, which cannot be substituted or neglected, so that both can mutually enrich each other through exchange and exchange, dialogue of cultures. The West could find in the civilization of the East the remedies for some of its spiritual and religious diseases caused by the domination of materialism. And the East could find in the civilization of the West many elements that can help it save itself from weakness, division, conflict and scientific, technical and cultural decline. It is important to pay attention to the religious, cultural and historical differences that are an essential component in the formation of the Eastern personality, culture and civilization; and it is important to consolidate general and common human rights, to help guarantee a dignified life for all men in the East and in the West, avoiding the use of double measure policies.”

    The document turns to politics in the later chapters. At 123 large pages one wonders how many readers it will have.

    I’ve just read ch. 5 of Martel’s “In the Closet of the Vatican” and found it the best account of the policies and tactics of Pope Francis, detested by right wing Catholics but indicating clearly a new aggiornamento that will make the church a happier and saner place.

  4. Joe O'Leary says:

    Comment from Massimo Faggioli:

    “Fratelli Tutti builds a triangle with Laudato Si’ (2015) and Declaration of Abu Dhabi on human fraternity for world peace and living together (2019).

    “Strongest sections in Fratelli Tutti are on populism and nationalism, social responsibility of property, war, death penalty and vindictive justice systems.

    “In this sense it’s a document talking to the USA and US Catholicism more than to others.

    “Fratelli Tutti is not just against trickle-down economics, but also against the neo-liberal dogma and false universalism. Role of the governments: the state is not dead.

    “The most remarkable section of Fratelli Tutti, in light of our times, is the one on social conflict: roots of conflicts. Forgiveness and reconciliation cannot be used to silence the need for justice.

    “Fratelli Tutti deepens Francis’ focus on the church in the world and for the world, and highlights the fact that for Francis intra-ecclesial issues deserve subordinate attention.

    “This document has also important weaknesses and silences. For this, my analysis in Commonweal this week.”

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