Pope Francis Gets Very Close to Endorsing Biden in New Encyclical Titled "Brothers All"
Popes generally don't endorse political candidates, but Francis came quite close yesterday to endorsing Joe Biden in a new encyclical titled "Fratelli Tutti." In many ways it echoes the themes of Biden's candidacy on a broad array of issues such as social justice, access to health care, racism, immigration, the environment, poverty, and international cooperation.
In part, Pope Francis released his encyclical letter, “Fratelli Tutti [Brothers All],” to chastise the “myopic, extremist, resentful and aggressive nationalism,” that he sees enveloping much of the world. He understands that this new nationalism is unhealthy, often driven by bigotry, greed and xenophobia.
Pope Francis: "In some countries, a concept of popular and national unity influenced by various ideologies is creating new forms of selfishness and a loss of the social sense under the guise of defending national interests."...
..."Today too, outside the ancient town walls lies the abyss, the territory of the unknown, the wilderness. Whatever comes from there cannot be trusted, for it is unknown, unfamiliar, not part of the village. It is the territory of the “barbarian”, from whom we must defend ourselves at all costs. As a result, new walls are erected for self-preservation, the outside world ceases to exist and leaves only “my” world, to the point that others, no longer considered human beings possessed of an inalienable dignity, become only “them”. Once more, we encounter “the temptation to build a culture of walls, to raise walls, walls in the heart, walls on the land, in order to prevent this encounter with other cultures, with other people. And those who raise walls will end up as slaves within the very walls they have built. They are left without horizons, for they lack this interchange with others.”
Francis encourages Catholics to embrace “the communitarian dimension of life” and the values of “fraternity and social friendship.” And he specifically criticizes those that portray refugees and immigrants as “less worthy, less important, less human.”
The Pope's encyclical is certainly not meant as a Biden endorsement, but it's difficult not to see it as a reply to those on the right that seek to convince Catholics that abortion is the only issue at stake in the election. Consider the Pope's comments on the environment.
Francis: "To care for the world in which we live means to care for ourselves. Yet we need to think of ourselves more and more as a single family dwelling in a common home. Such care does not interest those economic powers that demand quick profits. Often the voices raised in defence of the environment are silenced or ridiculed, using apparently reasonable arguments that are merely a screen for special interests. In this shallow, short-sighted culture that we have created, bereft of a shared vision, “it is foreseeable that, once certain resources have been depleted, the scene will be set for new wars, albeit under the guise of noble claims”.
Or, his thoughts about unfettered capitalism and "individualism."
Francis: "Some people are born into economically stable families, receive a fine education, grow up well nourished, or naturally possess great talent. They will certainly not need a proactive state; they need only claim their freedom. Yet the same rule clearly does not apply to a disabled person, to someone born in dire poverty, to those lacking a good education and with little access to adequate health care. If a society is governed primarily by the criteria of market freedom and efficiency, there is no place for such persons, and fraternity will remain just another vague ideal." "Indeed, “to claim economic freedom while real conditions bar many people from actual access to it, and while possibilities for employment continue to shrink, is to practise doublespeak.”... "The world exists for everyone, because all of us were born with the same dignity. Differences of colour, religion, talent, place of birth or residence, and so many others, cannot be used to justify the privileges of some over the rights of all. As a community, we have an obligation to ensure that every person lives with dignity and has sufficient opportunities for his or her integral development."
In a world ravaged by climate change, war, racism, inequality, xenophobia and Covid, Francis is telling us that we are all in this together and that we can only overcome our challenges by embracing our common humanity to find solutions that lift everyone to their potential. He warns that an “every man for himself” worldview will just lead to more of the same that “will rapidly degenerate into a free-for-all that would prove worse than any pandemic.”
Again, the Pope's encyclical is not a Biden endorsement, but it's likely that our election was on his mind while he wrote it.
By: Don Lam & Curated Content