This interview of Rodrigo Guerra by Miroslava Lopez was originally published in Spanish at Vida Nueva (link). This English translation is published with permission.
The Vatican has announced a new encyclical by Pope Francis entitled Fratelli tutti, about human fraternity and social friendship. The pope will sign the document on October 3, 2020 in Assisi and it will be released to the public on October 4.
Vida Nueva interviewed Rodrigo Guerra López on the significance of Francis’s new teaching document and what the pope is saying in the context of our present situation. Dr. Guerra, who is from Mexico, is a philosopher, an ordinary member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, and serves on the Theological Commission of the Latin American Conference of Bishops (CELAM). He is president of the Center for Advanced Social Research (CISAV).
Q: What can we expect from the next Encyclical of Pope Francis on the themes of human fraternity and social friendship?
GUERRA: My impression is that Pope Francis will surprise us again by announcing the Gospel in its essential simplicity. Of course, we should take a few days to study and meditate on the text and not rush to conclusions. That said, we can already glean from the various messages and documents he has given us throughout his pontificate that “fraternity” will have to be understood as an analogous concept—that is, in its multiple possibilities within Christian semantics.
Ideologues always look for a narrow, “univocal” meanings of words. They try to set traps and trip up the Successor of Peter. It was enough that in the “Document on Human Fraternity,” signed by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, when the concept “brothers” was introduced, some immediately raised suspicions as if they were trying to build an immanentistic inter-religion in order to dissolve the specificities of faith. Something similar also happened when Laudato si’ was published. From the first lines, we were reminded of the importance of recognizing—following Francis of Assisi—not only our neighbor but our “common home” as a “sister.”
True Christian intelligence always operates animated by “analogy,” that is, by verifying what things are “similar” and “different”. The “analogia entis” and the “analogia fidei” are a constitutive dimension of authentically Christian thinking.