Pope to sign new encyclical in Assisi

Pope Francis will sign his new encyclical next month in Assisi.

Focusing on what the world should look like following the Covid-19 pandemic, Francis is calling the new encyclical “Brothers and Sisters All” (“Fratelli Tutti”, in Italian).

The encyclical examines the social, political and economic obligations that flow from a belief that all people are children of God and therefore brothers and sisters to one another.

It looks set to offer ways human beings can restore relationships with one another.

Francis’s visit to Assisi will be his first trip outside Rome since the pandemic struck Italy.

His visit is taking place on the feast of his namesake, St Francis of Assisi, who is the saint of poverty, peace and care for creation.

He will sign the new encyclical after saying Mass at the tomb of St Francis. The coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions mean Francis will celebrate the liturgy privately, without anyone present.

Conventual Franciscan Fr. Mauro Gambetti, who is the custodian of the Assisi convent, says Brothers and Sisters All “will indicate to the world a style for the future and will give the church and people of goodwill the responsibility for building it together.

“The pope is clearly inspired by Francis of Assisi who, in following Jesus, recognized in fraternity, lived under the sign of mutual and loving service, the horizon of a fulfilled and happy humanity.”

Brothers and Sisters All is expected to build on the themes of human fraternity found in the joint declaration signed in Abu Dhabi by the Pope and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar. This declaration calls on religions to work more closely together.

Francis has made dialogue with other religions a hallmark of his pontificate.

Andrea Tornielli, who is the Vatican’s editorial director, says the new encyclical’s title is found in St Francis’s writings.

In these, St Francis explained: “Let us all, brothers [and sisters], consider the Good Shepherd who to save his sheep bore the suffering of the Cross.”

Since the pandemic, Francis has focused his own and the Vatican’s efforts on how the Church can respond to crisis.

He has established a Covid commission which is involved in everything from arranging the distribution of ventilators to calling for a rethink of the global financial system.

Francis has also been using his Wednesday general audiences to offer a blueprint for a post-Covid world.

The pandemic has exposed social illnesses, he says.

Fratelli Tutti will be the third encyclical of his pontificate with the first, Lumen Fidei, published in 2013 and the second, Laudato si’, published in 2015.

Laudato Si’ is Pope’s landmark encyclical calling for ecological conversion and updated the Church’s teaching on protecting the environment.

Like Brothers and Sisters All, the title Laudato Si’ (Praise be to you) was inspired by St Francis. It is found in his song, Canticle of the Sun.



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