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A stranger on the road. Fratelli Tutti. SDG17. EN

by | Oct 23, 2020 | Partners | 0 comments


A stranger on the road. Fratelli Tutti


Julio Cesar Rioja cmf


He is a parish priest in Elda. Spain


I have just finished reading the last Encyclical of Pope Francis “Fratelli Tutti” (all brothers). The first feeling is that it summarizes part of the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church (DSI). From the comments that one can read inside and outside the Church, one can understand that this doctrine is a great unknown in many environments. Social doctrine, like moral or sexual doctrine, is not dogmatic and evolves. Even if some think that sexual or moral doctrine must be permanent, it is the only one that is known. History shows the evolution of this doctrine. It is not a matter of giving all the examples here, but one of them is priests’ celibacy.


Even within the Church, those who say that this Pope is heretical should disqualify all previous Popes from Leo XIII until today, almost one hundred and fifty years, as well as the Fathers of the Church and a multitude of saints. When our ideologies are placed above the faith, this happens to us. That private property is a function of the common good. The universal destination of goods is not new in the Church, nor is solidarity, subsidiarity, peace…, which are some of the fundamental principles of the DSI. But it seems that some think this is something strange to their way of understanding faith.


The text is exact, neoliberalism; capitalism has achieved its ultimate goal: disintegration and individualism, that each of us goes to our ball. But this goes clearly against faith, against Christianity, mostly the Catholic, which proposes to create community, group, living with others, fraternity, hence the title of the Encyclical. There are other interesting topics to reflect on: human rights, fear, the pandemic, the media, globalization, immigrants, the local and universal, dialogue, consensus, culture, kindness, conflict, forgiveness, the death penalty … a whole repertoire of brushstrokes and questions, to move forward in creating a new society.

The fifth chapter: The best policy is central. A good way to situate oneself in the present moment, plagued by “populisms” and a liberal and economicist vision that believes itself capable of providing solutions, but that repeatedly discards the most vulnerable. That is why an international power is proposed, as was done in “Laudato Sí,” a new UN capable of setting shared objectives and assuring their fulfillment, without vetoes. Good reading for our politicians. All this is based on one of the most traditional social doctrine aspects: “political charity.” He gives an example that should make it clear to all those in Caritas, NGOs, and people who are looking for a commitment from faith: “If someone helps an old man cross a river, and that is an exquisite charity, another builds him a bridge, and that is also charity. If someone helps someone else by giving them food, the one who creates a source of work exercises a very high form of charity”. It is clear to anyone who wants to understand.


In the background, the Good Samaritan parable, in the second chapter, is curiously entitled: a stranger on the road. It gives us the keys to the whole Encyclical; it is the ultimate foundation, the Christian identity. Our mission is not relegated to the private realm as some belief; on the contrary, it must be concerned with integral human development. Francis of Assisi and Charles de Foucauld lead and conclude the writing, two good examples with different proposed features. Read it even if you ignore the comments; this one, too, is good for us in these times of uncertainty.


Julio Cesar Rioja cmf


He is a parish priest in Elda. Spain



Translated with (free version)


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