Happy New Year. So much to be grateful for, so many challenges ahead that are made possible because there is nothing impossible for God. Today we take up the last chapter of Fratelli Tutti. In reading the chapter, the thought that may come to many of our minds has to do with the shame and scandal of more wars having been waged in the history of the world because of religion. Pope Francis tells us that religions are called to be at the service of fraternity in the world. In addition, I am also including two of Pope Francis prayers. And as I have been mentioning, if you have not done so, download the encyclical, then when you have a moment here or there, you will have it handy. www.vatican.va/content/vatican/en.html.
Chapter 8: Religions at the Service of Fraternity in Our World
“As believers, we are convinced that, without an openness to the Father of all, there will be no solid and stable reasons for an appeal to fraternity (272).”
Pope Francis shares his belief and hope that the religions of the world can be at the “service of fraternity.” He writes, “we, the believers of the different religions, know that our witness to God benefits our societies. The effort to seek God with a sincere heart, provided it is never sullied by ideological or self-serving aims, helps us recognize one another as travelling companions, truly brothers and sisters (274).” People of faith are called to work together to build bridges and seek the common good.
Because religious tradition provides the transcendental values that are the bedrock of social morality, the Church “does not restrict her mission to the private sphere,” nor “remain on the sidelines” in the building of a better world, but rather seeks to “’reawaken the spiritual energy’ that can contribute to the betterment of society (276).” Francis reiterates that, while the Church proclaims the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it “esteems the way in which God works in other religions” and “rejects nothing of what is true and holy in these religions,” affirming especially that which contributes to the common good (277).
Pope Francis believes that “a journey of peace is possible between religions” and that violence is a “distortion” of our fundamental religious convictions (281- 282). Based on his encounter with the Grand Imam Ahmad Al-Tayyeb, he makes an appeal for peace, justice, and fraternity among people of faith. To conclude he names several others whose work inspired the encyclical, including Gandhi, Martin Luther King
Have you had an encounter with someone of another faith that made you feel we are
“brothers and sisters all?”