Pope Francis releases letter on Fraternity and Social Friendship--10/4/2020

Bishop Columns

MERRILLVILLE – Catholics in the Diocese of Gary join others across the world in receiving the Pope’s new encyclical, Fratelli Tutti: On Fraternity and Social Friendship, published Sunday, Oct. 4, in which the Pope reveals his vision for overcoming the world’s growing divisions.

In the letter, the pope urges people of good will to put love for others ahead of personal interests, in both social and political contexts.

The words “Fratelli tutti,” are taken from the writings of St. Francis of Assisi, to whom the pope describes at the beginning of the encyclical as the “saint of fraternal love.”

The Most Reverend Robert J. McClory, Bishop of Gary, encourages local Catholics to embrace the Pope’s message, to resist the modern “throw away” culture, and to value every human life as a beautiful creation of God, and to love one another as brothers and sisters of one family. 

“Our love of God, and His love for us, calls us to be intentional in loving and honoring every human life,” said Bishop McClory. “The pope’s message reminds us that we must care for and respect one another, regardless of the color of our skin, or country of origin. We must especially embrace those who are unable to care for themselves, like the unborn and the elderly.”

Bishop McClory praised the letter which he described as calling us to make a commitment to work together to build a future that truly values every human person.

Bishop McClory was particularly struck by Pope Francis’ invitation to renewed hope, “Hope speaks to us of a thirst, an aspiration, a longing for a life of fulfillment, a desire to achieve great things, things that fill our heart and lift our spirit to lofty realities like truth, goodness and beauty, justice and love…” (Pope Francis, 2020, Fratelli Tutti: Chapter One, 55)

“With hearts renewed, we ask the Lord to inspire us to become beacons of hope and light to others,” Bishop McClory said. “We start with ourselves, and then ask the Lord how we can be a channel of His love and mercy to a hurting world.”

Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, on behalf of the Catholic Church in the United States, welcomed the Holy Father’s new encyclical letter as an important contribution to the Church’s rich tradition of social doctrine.

Archbishop Gomez described Pope Francis’ teaching as profound and beautiful, recognizing that God our Father has created every human being with equal sanctity and dignity, equal rights and duties, and that our Creator calls us to form a single human family in which we live as brothers and sisters. 

Archbishop Gomez noted that the Holy Father’s letter provides a powerful and urgent vision that challenges the Church and people of the world alike, to overcome the individualism in our culture and to serve our neighbors in love, seeking a society of justice, mercy, compassion, and mutual concern.

“God’s plan for humanity, the Pope reminds us, has implications for every aspect of our lives,” explained Archbishop Gomez, “from how we treat one another in our personal relationships, to how we organize and operate our societies and economies. I pray that Catholics and all people of good will reflect on our Holy Father’s words here and enter into a new commitment to seek the unity of the human family.”