Benedict XVI gave us a new expression to describe a Jewish or Muslim person: “other believer.” It indicates a person who does not believe exactly what we believe, but who is also a believer. Benedict XVI said: “May Jews, Christians and Muslims find in other believers brothers and sisters to be respected and loved, and in this way, beginning in their own lands, give the beautiful witness of serenity and concord between the children of Abraham.” The question then arises for us: Are we able to speak in such a way that other believers understand us?
When we present our social doctrine we should ensure that other believers understand what we mean. Pope Francis has written a social encyclical based on the fundamental principle that all people are called to fraternity. What does Francis suggest so that brothers and sisters who are not Christians will understand us?
It is in its very form that the encyclical Fratelli Tutti (FT) demonstrates how we can speak and operate with other believers without hiding the specifics of our witness. In other words, and stated more technically, Francis overcomes the dilemma between particularity and universality in a performative way, and this happens in three forms: the style of contemplation, the articulation of an anthropology and theology of religion, and his choice of vocabulary.