Solidarity is not ‘a dirty word’: Cardinals, experts discuss ‘Fratelli Tutti’ at one year

By Christopher White, 29 November 2021
Pope Francis signs the new Encyclical "Fratelli Tutti" before the tomb of St Francis of Assisi in Assisi, Italy. Image: Vatican Media/Vatican News.


One year after the release of Pope Francis’ encyclical Fratelli Tutti, Filipino Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle said the pope’s call for greater human fraternity must lead to a rejection of populist leaders who cloak their political agendas with religious messages or images.

“Populist demagogues’ use or misuse of religion for their interests undermine efforts that develop interreligious relationships and friendships,” said Tagle, who was archbishop of Manila since 2011, before being tapped by Pope Francis in 2019 to head the Vatican’s Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

The cardinal’s remarks came during a Nov. 8-9 conference on “The Culture of Encounter: The Future of Intercultural and Interreligious Dialogue,” organized by the Jesuit-run journal La Civiltà Cattolica and the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs at Georgetown University.

During his keynote address, Spanish Cardinal Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, offered a blunt summation of what Pope Francis’ project has been in recent years: to remind the world that “We are all brothers and sisters. Stop.”

As president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Ayuso lamented that “solidarity is a word that is not always well received,” adding that “in certain situations, it has become a dirty word.”

For Ayuso, a scholar of Islam, the encyclical can be summed up in three major messages: love for all; the importance of service in order to heal the wounds of humanity; and the need to work together for peace.

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Christopher White is the Vatican correspondent for NCR. His email address is Follow him on Twitter: @CWWhiteNCR.

With thanks to National Catholic Reporter (NCR) and Christopher White, where this article originally appeared.


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