Excerpt from Cardinal Blaise Cupich on the Pope’s new Social Encyclical:
…(in the chapter) “Envisaging and Engendering an Open World,” Pope Francis begins a constructive project that occupies the remainder of the encyclical by reimagining a new and hopeful way of living together, one that is ultimately rooted in love and respect for the dignity of all people. He ends this chapter with these powerful words: “…if we accept the great principle that there are inalienable rights born of our human dignity, we can rise to the challenge of envisaging a new humanity. We can aspire to a world that provides land, housing, and work for all. This is the true path of peace, not the senseless and myopic strategy of sowing mistrust and fear of outside threats. For a real and lasting peace can only be built ‘on the basis of a global ethic of solidarity and cooperation in the service of a future shaped by interdependence and shared responsibility in the whole human family’” [“Address on Nuclear Weapons,” 2019].
This new and hopeful vision involves an openness to and interest in those who are different, leading to the enrichment that comes in the exchange of gifts (Chapter 4), a better kind of politics (Chapter 5), and a culture of dialogue and friendship. The vision he describes is in sharp contrast to a prevalent way of doing political business: revenge for past losses, the use of force, and a view of economic profit as paramount (Chapter 6).
At the very end, Pope Francis invokes the saint who prompted his reflections and the title of the encyclical, Saint Francis…true to the pope’s desire to engage the global community in this critical conversation, he associates himself with faithful people beyond the Catholic world who witnessed to fraternity and social friendship: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Desmond Tutu, Mahatma Gandhi, and many others.
Let us take up this conversation as brothers and sisters.