10 September 2020, The Tablet

Love for all the glory of creation

Papal encyclical


Pope Francis’ forthcoming encyclical is on the subject of “fraternity”, which in the Latin original – Fratelli tutti – means “brothers and sisters”. Except in the theology of this Pope, our “brothers and sisters” are not only our fellow men and women. He uses the phrase as his namesake would have done, to include all creatures great and small, animate and inanimate. The wind, sun and clouds are also part of this passionate faith-inspired embrace; as well as the birds, beloved of the saint who radiated “the sublime fraternity of all creation”. The Pope’s refusal to countenance causing deliberate suffering to any living creature is almost Buddhist in its spirituality. The reconciliation of people of every faith is likely to be a major theme of this encyclical.

The coronavirus and the lockdown have given many people a chance to be reacquainted with nature as they took their statutory exercise walk, cycle or run, and rested to draw breath in the unaccustomed pure air and welcome silence. Many have rediscovered what is meant by being in touch with nature, or even being one with it. The hills, fields and woods are glorious, and they speak of the glory of God. This strange episode has awakened a sensitivity to what Pope Francis is saying about our interconnectedness with nature as well as with each other. It is political and cultural – but it is also mystical.

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User Comments (1)

Comment by: thetablet
Posted: 19/09/2020 16:33:20
Love for all the Glory of Creation makes the wonderful point that Pope Francis uses the phrase "Fratelli tutti"as "his namesake does to include all creatures great and small, animate and inanimate", thus including men and women, silencing after a fashion the complaints of its being gender-insensitive, at least in English. The one item that mars it is the claim that Fratelli tutti is the Latin original. A slip, but one that a proof-reader should not have missed. It is of course Italian
For the rest The Tablet means absolutely the world to me. I read every issue from the first to the last line with relish and profit.