In his new encyclical, Pope Francis draws on the example of his namesake, the Saint of Assisi, to inspire the people of the world to believe that even at this time of political and moral crisis, transformation can be achieved
A rising tide of populist nationalism. Polarised debates that leave people in a permanent state of confrontation. A global pandemic which has exposed the weakness of free markets. Ideologies and hatred being spread on social media.
As Pope Francis writes in his new encyclical letter, the world is “showing signs of a certain regression”.
Fratelli Tutti is the 83-year-old Roman pontiff’s attempt to show that a better way is possible. Covid-19 has shown that we are a “global community, all in the same boat”. The Pope calls for a new kind of politics, one which is kinder and more tender, open to dialogue and expressing love of neighbour.
To adapt the popular prayer attributed to St Francis: “Where there is populism, Pope Francis focuses on people; where there is nationalism, he calls for reform of the United Nations; where there is individualism, he pushes for solidarity; where there is digital trolling, he asks for kindness; where there is inequality, he urges fairer distribution; when politicians hate, he recommends dialogue; when there is ideology, he calls for genuine faith.”
The encyclical takes an uncompromising stand against the “myopic, extremist, resentful and aggressive nationalism” that Francis sees growing across Europe, the United States and parts of Latin America. One official in Rome put it to me this way: “It’s a kick in the head to the rising tide of barbarism.”