Fraternity and Social Friendship

1
Antonio Spadaro, SJ

 Antonio Spadaro, SJ / Pope Francis / Published Date:14 October 2020/Last Updated Date:16 October 2020


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Eight years after his election, Pope Francis has written a new encyclical that brings together much of his previous teachings (cf. Fratelli Tutti, No. 5).[1]

When he began his pontificate, the first idea Francis referred to was “fraternity.” He bowed his head in front of the people gathered in St. Peter’s Square and defined the bishop-people relationship as a “path of fraternity,” stating this desire: “Let us always pray for each other. Let us pray for the whole world, that there may be a great fraternity.”[2]

The encyclical’s title is a direct quotation from the Admonitions of St. Francis. It indicates a fraternity that extends not only to human beings, but also to the earth, in full harmony with his other papal encyclical, Laudato Si’.[3]

Fraternity and social friendship

Fratelli Tutti addresses both fraternity and social friendship; together they are the central message of his text. The realism that runs through the pages dissolves any romantic emptiness that always lurks about whenever we speak of fraternity. For Francis, fraternity is not just an emotion, a feeling or an idea – no matter how noble – but a fact that also implies an outcome, an action (and the  freedom to act): “Whose brother can I be?”

Fraternity thus understood overturns the prevailing apocalyptic mentality, which is an approach to reality that fights against the world, believing it to be the opposite of God, i.e. an idol, and therefore needing to be destroyed as soon as possible to accelerate the end of time. Faced with the abyss of the apocalypse, there are no more brothers or sisters, only apostates or martyrs running against time. But we are not militants or apostates, we are all sisters and brothers.

Fraternity neither burns time nor blinds eyes and souls. Instead it occupies time; it takes time, time needed for a quarrel and reconciliation. Fraternity spends time the apocalypse burns it. Fraternity requires the time of boredom. Hate is pure excitement. Fraternity is what allows equals to be different people. Hate eliminates those who are different. Fraternity saves the time which involves politics, mediation, encounter, the building up of civil society, and caring. Fundamentalism wipes it out as in a video game.

That is why on February 4, 2019, in Abu Dhabi, Pope Francis and Aḥmad al-Tayyeb, the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, signed a historic document on fraternity. The two leaders recognized each other as brothers and tried to take a look at today’s world together. And what did they understand? That the only real alternative that defies and curbs the apocalyptic solution is fraternity.

It is necessary to rediscover this powerful evangelical word, taken up in the catch cry of the French Revolution, but which the post-revolutionary order then abandoned until it was removed from the political-economic lexicon. It has been replaced with the weaker one of “solidarity,” which in Fratelli recurs 22 times (compared to 44 occurrences of “fraternity”). Francis wrote in one of his messages: “While solidarity is the principle of social planning that allows the unequal to become equal, fraternity is what allows the equal to embrace different people.”[4]

Recognizing fraternity changes our perspectives, turning them upside down. It is a strong message of political value. We are all brothers and sisters, and therefore all citizens with equal rights and duties, under whose shadow everyone enjoys justice.

So fraternity is the solid basis for living “social friendship.” Pope Francis, speaking in Havana in 2015, recalled that he had once visited a very poor area of Buenos Aires. The parish priest of the neighborhood had introduced him to a group of young people who were putting up a few buildings: “This is the architect; he is Jewish; he is Communist; he is a practicing Catholic; he is… .” The pope commented: “They were all different, but they were all working together for the common good.” Francis calls this attitude “social friendship,” which knows how to combine rights with responsibility for the common good, diversity with the recognition of a radical fraternity.

A fraternity without boundaries

Fratelli Tutti opens with the evocation of an open fraternity, which allows each person to be recognized, valued and loved regardless of physical proximity, beyond the place in the world where they were born or where they live. Fidelity to the Lord is always proportional to love for one’s brothers and sisters. And this proportion is a fundamental criterion of this encyclical: you cannot say that you love God if you do not love your brothers and sisters. “For those who do not love a brother or sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen” (1 John 4:20).[5]

From the outset the encyclical makes clear how Francis of Assisi extended fraternity not only to human beings – and in particular to the abandoned, the sick, the discarded, the least, going beyond the distances of origin, nationality, color or religion – but also to the sun, the sea and the wind (cf. Nos. 1-3). The perspective is therefore global, universal. And so is the breadth of the pages of Pope Francis.

This encyclical could not remain aloof from the unexpected outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Beyond the various responses given by different countries, writes the pope, the inability to act together has emerged, despite the fact that we can boast of being hyperconnected. Francis writes: “God willing, after all this, we will think no longer in terms of ‘them’ and ‘those,’ but only ‘us’” (No. 35).

The schism between individual and community

The first step that Francis takes is to compile a phenomenology of current world trends that are unfavorable to the development of universal fraternity. The starting point of Bergoglio’s analysis is often – if not always – what he learned from the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, who invited us to pray, imagining how God sees the world.[6]

The pontiff observes the world and has the general impression that a real schism is developing between the individual and the human community (cf. No. 30). It is a world that has learned nothing from the tragedies of the 20th century, which has no sense of history (cf. No. 13). There seems to be a regression. Amidst conflicts and nationalisms, social awareness has gone missing (cf. No. 11), and the common good seems to be the least common of goods. We are alone in this globalized world and the individual prevails over the communitarian dimension of existence (cf. No. 12). People play the role of consumers or spectators, and the strongest are favored.

And so Francis puts together the pieces of a puzzle that illustrates the dramas of our time.

The first piece concerns politics. In this dramatic context, great words such as democracy, freedom, justice and unity lose the fullness of their meaning, and historical consciousness, critical thinking, the struggle for justice and the ways to integration have disappeared (cf. Nos. 14 and 110).

His judgment on the state of politics today is sometimes very harsh: “Political life no longer has to do with healthy debates about long-term plans to improve people’s lives and to advance the common good, but only with slick marketing techniques primarily aimed at discrediting others” (No. 15).

A second piece is the culture of waste. When reduced to marketing, politics favors global waste and the culture from which it derives (see No. 19-20).

The picture continues with the inclusion of a reflection on human rights, respect for which is a prerequisite for the social and economic development of a country (see No. 22).

The fourth piece is the important paragraph dedicated to migration. If the right not to migrate must be reaffirmed, it is also true that a xenophobic mentality forgets that migrants must be agents in their own redemption. They are considered “less worthy, less important, less human.” And he strongly states: “For Christians, this way of thinking and acting is unacceptable” (No. 39).

Then there is the fifth piece: the risks that communications pose today. With digital connections, distances are shortened, but attitudes of closure and intolerance develop, which feed the “spectacle” brought into play by movements of hatred. Instead, we need “physical gestures, facial expressions, moments of silence, body language and even the smells, the trembling of hands, the blushes and perspiration that speak to us and are a part of human communication” (No. 43).

The pontiff, however, does not limit himself to providing a dry description of the reality and drama of our time. His is a reading immersed in a spirit of participation and faith. The pope’s vision, being attentive to the socio-political and cultural dimension, is radically theological. The reduction to individualism that emerges here is the fruit of sin.

An outsider on the road

Despite the dense shadows described in the pages of this encyclical, Francis intends to cite many paths of hope, which speak to us of a thirst for fullness, of a desire to touch what fills the heart and lifts the spirit to great things (cf. Nos. 54-55).

In an attempt to seek a light, and before indicating some lines of action, Francis dedicates a chapter to the parable of the Good Samaritan (cf. Nos. 63-68). Listening to the Word of God is a fundamental step in judging evangelically the drama of our time and finding solutions.

Thus the Good Samaritan becomes a social and civil model. The inclusion or exclusion of the wounded on the side of the road defines all economic, political, social and religious projects. The Holy Father, in fact, does not stop at the level of individual choices, but projects these two options at the level of the policies of states. And yet he always returns to the personal level for fear that people may feel uninvolved and unengaged.

Thinking and generating a hospitable world: an inclusive vision

The third step Francis makes in his itinerary takes us to what we could define as the “beyond,” that is, the need to go beyond ourselves. If the drama described in the first chapter was that of the solitude of the consumer wrapped in individualism and the passivity of the spectator, a way out must be found.

And the basic fact is that no one can experience the value of life without concrete faces to love. Here lies a secret of authentic human existence (cf. No. 86). Love creates bonds and expands existence. But this “exit” from oneself is not reduced to a relationship with a small group, or to family ties; it is impossible to understand oneself without a wider fabric of relationships with others that enrich us (cf. No. 88-91).

This love that is openness to the “beyond” and “hospitality” is the foundation of the action that makes it possible to establish social friendship and fraternity. Social friendship and fraternity do not exclude but include. They disregard physical and moral traits or, as the pope writes, ethnic groups, societies and cultures (cf. No. 95). The tension is toward a “universal communion,” or “a community composed of brothers and sisters who accept and care for one another” (No. 96). This opening is geographical, but even more to the point existential.

However, the pontiff himself perceives, at this stage, the risk of a misunderstanding, that of the false universalism of those who do not love their people. There is also a strong risk of an authoritarian and abstract universalism, which aims to homogenize, standardize, dominate. The safeguarding of differences is the criterion of true fraternity, which does not homogenize but welcomes and affirms differences, valuing them. We are brothers and sisters because at the same time we are equal and different: “We need to free ourselves from feeling that we all have to be alike.”[7]

The importance of multilateralism

The pope calls for a radical change of perspective not only at the interpersonal or state level, but also in international relations, that of the certainty of the common destination of the earth’s goods. This perspective changes the panorama and “we can then say that each country also belongs to the foreigner, inasmuch as a territory’s goods must not be denied to a needy person coming from elsewhere” (No. 124).

This also, continues the pontiff, presupposes another way of understanding international relations. The appeal to the importance of multilateralism is therefore very clear, with a real condemnation of a bilateral approach whereby powerful countries and large corporations prefer to deal with other smaller or poorer countries in order to make greater profit (cf. No. 153). The key is “to know we are responsible for the fragility of others as we strive to build a common future” (No. 115). Caring for the fragile is a key point of this encyclical. 

A heart open to the whole world

Francis also speaks of the challenges to be faced so that fraternity does not remain only an abstraction, but takes flesh.

The first is that of migrations, to be developed around four verbs: to welcome, protect, promote and integrate. It is not, in fact, “a case of implementing welfare programs from the top down, but rather of undertaking a journey together, through these four actions” (No. 129).

Francis offers very precise indications (cf. No. 130). In particular, he dwells on the theme of citizenship as it was articulated in the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together signed in Abu Dhabi. Speaking of “citizenship” works against the idea of “minority,” which carries with it the seeds of tribalism and hostility, and sees in the face of the other the mask of the enemy. Francis’ approach is subversive with respect to the spreading apocalyptic political theologies.

The pope also highlights the fact that the arrival of people from a different vital and cultural context is actually a gift for those who welcome them; it is an encounter between people and cultures that constitutes an opportunity for enrichment and development. And this can happen if the other person is allowed to be him or herself.

The guiding criterion of the discourse is always the same: to raise the awareness that either we all save ourselves or no one does. Any attitude of “sterilization” and isolationism is an obstacle to the enrichment proper to the encounter.

Populism and liberalism

Francis continues his encyclical with a chapter dedicated to the best politics, the ones placed at the service of the true common good (cf. No. 154). And here he faces head-on the question of the confrontation between liberalism and populism, which can use the weak, the “people,” in a demagogic way. Francis intends to clear up a misunderstanding, using a broad quotation from the interview he gave me on the occasion of the publication of his writings as Archbishop of Buenos Aires. It is reported in its entirety here because of its importance:

“‘People’ is not a logical category, nor is it a mystical category, if by that we mean that everything the people does is good, or that the people is an ‘angelic’ reality. Rather, it is a mythic category […]. When you have to explain what you mean by ‘people’, you use logical categories for the sake of explanation, and necessarily so. Yet in that way you cannot explain what it means to belong to a people. The word ‘people’ has a deeper meaning that cannot be set forth in purely logical terms. To be part of a people is to be part of a shared identity arising from social and cultural bonds. And that is not something automatic, but rather a slow, difficult process… of advancing toward a common project” (No. 158).[8]

Consequently, this mythical category can indicate leadership capable of attunement with the people, with its cultural dynamics and the great tendencies of a society toward a service to the common good; or it can indicate degeneration when one changes in the ability to attract consensus for electoral success and to ideologically instrumentalize the culture of the people, at the service of one’s own personal project (cf. No. 159).

Nor should we emphasize the mythical category of the people as if it were a romantic expression and therefore, as such, rejected in favor of more concrete, institutional discourses related to social organization, science and the institutions of civil society.

What unites both dimensions, the mythical and the institutional, is charity, which implies a path of transformation of history that incorporates everything: institutions, law, technology, experience, professional contributions, scientific analysis, administrative procedures. Love of neighbor is in fact realistic.

Therefore, in order to solve problems it is necessary to grow both the spirituality of fraternity and the most efficient organization. The two things are not opposed at all. This can be achieved without imagining that there is an economic recipe that can be applied equally for everyone.  Even the most rigorous science can propose different paths and solutions (cf. Nos. 164-165).

Popular movements and international institutions

In this context Francis speaks about popular movements and international institutions. They seem two opposite and divergent levels of organization, but in the end they are convergent in their virtuosity, because they value the local, the individual, the global, the other, and always under the banner of multilateralism.

The popular movements “unite the unemployed, temporary and informal workers and many others who do not easily find a place in existing structures” (No. 169). With these movements we overcome “that idea of social policies conceived as a policy toward the poor, but never with the poor, never of the poor and even less in a project that reunites peoples” (ibid.).

Therefore, Francis dwells on the international institutions, today weakened, especially because the transnational economic-financial dimension tends to predominate over politics. Among these is the United Nations, which must be reformed to prevent it from being delegitimized and so that “the concept of the family of nations can acquire real teeth” (No. 173). It has as its task the promotion of the sovereignty of law, because justice is “an essential condition for achieving the ideal of universal fraternity” (ibid.).

The best politics are not subject to the economy

Francis then dwells at length on politics. Several times the pontiff has complained about how much it is subject to the economy, and this to the efficiency-driven paradigm of technocracy. On the contrary, politics should have a broad vision so that the economy is integrated into a political, social, cultural and popular project that tends toward the common good (cf. Nos. 177 and 17).

Fraternity and social friendship are not found in abstract utopias. They require decision and the ability to find paths that ensure their real possibility, even involving the social sciences. And this is a “noble exercise of charity” (No. 180). Love therefore expresses itself not only in one-on-one relationships, but also in social, economic and political relationships, in trying to build communities at different levels of social life. This is what Francis calls “social love” (cf. No. 186). This political charity presupposes the maturation of a social sense by virtue of which “each of us is fully a person when we are part of a people; at the same time, there are no peoples without respect for the individuality of each person” (No. 182). In short, “people” and “person” are correlative terms.

Social love and political charity are also expressed in full openness to confrontation and dialogue with all, even with political opponents, for the common good, to make convergence possible at least on certain issues. There is no need to fear the conflict generated by differences, not least because “uniformity proves stifling and leads to cultural decay” (No. 191). And it is possible to live this if politicians do not stop considering themselves as human beings, called to live love in their daily interpersonal relationships (cf. No. 193) and if they know how to live in tenderness. This link between politics and tenderness appears unprecedented, but it is truly effective because tenderness is “the love that draws near and becomes real” (No. 194). In the midst of political activity, the weakest must provoke tenderness and have the “right to take our soul and heart” (ibid.).

Dialogue and culture of encounter

Francis summarizes some verbs used in this encyclical in a single word: dialogue. “In a pluralist society,” writes the pontiff, “dialogue is the best way to realize what ought always to be affirmed and respected, apart from any ephemeral consensus” (No. 211).

Once again there is a special vision of social friendship made up of the constant encounter of differences. The pope notes that this is the time for dialogue. Everyone exchanges messages on social media, for example, and yet dialogue is often confused with a feverish exchange of opinions, which, in reality, is a monologue in which aggressiveness predominates. He notes acutely that this is the style that seems to prevail in the political context, which in turn has a direct reflection in people’s daily lives (cf. 200-202).

“Authentic social dialogue presupposes the capacity to respect the other’s point of view and to admit that it may include legitimate convictions and concerns” (No. 203).[9] This is the dynamic of fraternity, after all, its existential character, which “helps to relativize ideas, at least in the sense of not resigning oneself to the fact that a conflict arising from a disparity of views and opinions prevails definitively over fraternity.”[10]

Let it be clear: dialogue does not mean relativism. As he had already written in the encyclical Laudato Si’, Francis affirms that if what counts are not objective truths or stable principles, but the satisfaction of one’s own aspirations and immediate needs, then laws will be understood only as arbitrary impositions and obstacles to be avoided. The search for the noblest values is always present (cf. Nos. 206-210).

Encounter and dialogue thus become a “culture of encounter,” which indicates the desire of a people to design something that involves everyone. It is not a good in itself, but a way of attaining the common good (cf. Nos. 216-221).

Pathways to a new encounter: conflict and reconciliation

Francis therefore makes an appeal that a solid foundation for encounters be set in place and that healing processes should start. An encounter cannot be founded on empty diplomacy, double talk, concealment, mere manners… Only from the truth of the facts can there arise the effort to understand each other and find a synthesis for the good of all (cf. Nos. 225-226).

The pope believes that true reconciliation does not shy away from conflict, but is achieved in conflict, overcoming it through dialogue and transparent, sincere and patient negotiation (cf. No. 244).

On the other hand, forgiveness has nothing to do with renouncing one’s rights before a powerful corrupt person, a criminal or someone who degrades our dignity. It is necessary to defend one’s rights strongly and to safeguard one’s dignity (cf. No. 241).

Above all, we must not lose the memory of the great misdeeds of history: “It is easy to be tempted to turn the page, to say that all these things happened long ago and we should look to the future. For God’s sake, no! We can never move forward without remembering the past” (No. 249).

War and the death penalty

In this setting, Francis examines two extreme situations that can present themselves as solutions in dramatic circumstances: war and the death penalty. The pontiff is very clear in dealing with the two issues.

With regard to war he states that unfortunately it is not a ghost of the past, but a constant threat. It must therefore be clear that “war is the negation of all rights and a dramatic assault on the environment” (No. 257).

He also addresses the position of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, where the possibility of a legitimate defense by military force is contemplated, with the premise of demonstrating that there are some strict conditions of moral legitimacy. However, Francis writes that it is easy to fall into an overly broad interpretation of this potential right. Today, the development of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and the enormous and growing possibilities offered by new technologies “have granted war an uncontrollable destructive power over great numbers of innocent civilians.” Therefore – and here is the pope’s conclusion – “we can no longer think of war as a solution, because its risks will probably always be greater than its supposed benefits. In view of this, it is very difficult nowadays to invoke the rational criteria elaborated in earlier centuries to speak of the possibility of a ‘just war.’ Never again war!” (No. 258).

The response to the threat of nuclear weapons and all forms of mass destruction must be collective and concerted, based on mutual trust. And – the pontiff proposes again – “with the money spent on weapons and other military expenditures, let us establish a global fund that can finally put an end to hunger and favor development in the most impoverished countries, so that their citizens will not resort to violent or illusory solutions, or have to leave their countries in order to seek a more dignified life” (No. 262).

With regard to the death penalty, Francis takes up the thought of John Paul II, who clearly stated in his encyclical Evangelium Vitae (No. 56) that it is morally inadequate and no longer necessary for penal purposes. Francis also refers to authors such as Lactantius, Pope Nicholas I and St. Augustine, who from the earliest centuries of the Church were opposed to this penalty. He states clearly that “the death penalty is inadmissible” (No. 263) and that the Church is determined to propose that it be abolished throughout the world. The judgment also extends to life imprisonment, which “is a secret death penalty” (No. 268).

Religions at the Service of Fraternity in the World

The last part of this encyclical is dedicated to religions and their role in the service of fraternity. Religions gather centuries of experience and wisdom, and therefore must participate in public debate as well as politics or science (cf. No. 275). For this reason, the Church does not relegate its mission to the private sphere. “It is true,” he specifies, “that religious ministers must not engage in the party politics that are the proper domain of the laity, but neither can they renounce the political dimension of life itself” (No. 276). The Church, therefore, has a public role that also works for universal fraternity (cf. ibid.).

The source of human dignity and fraternity for Christians, in particular, lies in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, from which springs, both in thought and pastoral action, the fundamental importance of the relationship, of encounter, of universal communion with the whole of humanity (cf. No. 277). The Church “in the power of the risen Lord, wants to give birth to a new world, where all of us are brothers and sisters, where there is room for all those whom our societies discard, where justice and peace are resplendent” (No. 278).

An appeal for peace and fraternity

Fratelli Tutti concludes with an appeal and two prayers that make explicit the meaning and the recipients.

The appeal, in fact, is a broad quotation from the aforementioned document signed by Pope Francis and the Great Imam Aḥmad al-Tayyeb in Abu Dhabi, and concerns precisely the conviction that “religions must never incite war, hateful attitudes, hostility and extremism, nor must they incite violence or the shedding of blood. These tragic realities are the consequence of a deviation from religious teachings. They result from a political manipulation of religions and from interpretations made by religious groups” (No. 285).

Among the other references offered in the text, we note that the pope chose to recall in particular Blessed Charles de Foucauld, who “wanted to be, ultimately, the universal brother. Yet only by identifying himself with the least did he come at last to be the brother of all” (No. 287). For Francis, fraternity is the space proper to the Kingdom of God, in which the Holy Spirit can come, dwell and act.[11]

‘…so will Philadelphia, the city of the brothers, reign’

After going through Fratelli Tutti, trying to emphasize its fundamental themes, I would like to conclude by quoting an Argentinean writer, Leopoldo Marechal, who is very much appreciated by Pope Francis and about whom he spoke when I interviewed him in 2013.

Marechal described “Philadelphia, city of the brothers” in his masterpiece Adàn Buenosayres, a work that narrates a symbolic three-day journey of the poet Adàn within the geography of a metaphysical Buenos Aires. One recognizes in particular the influence of Dante in the seventh book of the novel, entitled Viaje a la Oscura Ciudad de Cacodelphia, an evident parody of Hell.

But let us come to Philadelphia, which – writes Marechal – “will raise its domes and bell towers under a sky as bright as the face of a child. As the rose among flowers, as the goldfinch among birds, as the gold among metals, so will Philadelphia, the city of the brothers, reign among the metropolises of the world. A peaceful and happy multitude will walk its streets: the blind will see the light, he who denied will affirm what he denied, the exiled will tread on his native soil, and the damned will be finally redeemed.”[12]

As the rose among the flowers, so the “city of the brothers” will reign among the metropolises of the world, writes Marechal. And Francis with this encyclical points straight to the coming of the Kingdom of God, as we pray in the Our Father, the prayer that sees us all as brothers and sisters because we are children of one Father. The meaning of the Kingdom of God is the ability of Christians to make the good news of the Gospel available to all humanity, to all men and women without distinction, as a resource of salvation and fullness. In this case, the Gospel of fraternity.


DOI: La Civiltà Cattolica, En. Ed. Vol. 4, no. 10 art. 6, 1020: 10.32009/22072446.1020.6

[1] References to the encyclical will be made by noting the paragraph number within brackets.

[2] Francis, First Greeting of the Holy Father, March 13, 2013.

[3] There have been voices raised concerning the use of the male word “fratelli” as though the pope had chosen not to refer to women. Clearly the title of the encyclical is a quotation from St. Francis and so must remain faithful to the original. But there is no exclusive sense here. Certainly, it can be noted that recently in France the High Commission for Equality between women and men, in view of a forthcoming revision of the Constitution, has proposed substituting the word “adelphité”  for “fraternite”, which derives from the Greek but does not have exclusively male connotations. Others, to avoid a neologism, propose simply “solidarity.” However, we perceive weakness in this choice, especially in the light of the thought of Francis.  Cf. J. L. Narvaja, “Libertà, uguaglianza, fraternità,” in Civ. Catt. 2018 II 394-399.

[4] Francis, Message to Prof Margaret Archer, President of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, April 24, 2017.

[5] The theme recurs throughout the pontificate of Francis and his magisterium. A few passages may serve as examples: In the exhortation Amoris Laetitia: “God has given the family the job of ‘domesticating’ the world and helping each person to see fellow human beings as brothers and sisters” (No. 183). And in Gaudete et Exsultate: “In other words, amid the thicket of precepts and prescriptions, Jesus clears a way to seeing two faces, that of the Father and that of our brother. He does not give us two more formulas or two more commands. He gives us two faces, or better yet, one alone, the face of God reflected in so many other faces. For in every one of our brothers and sisters, especially the least, the most vulnerable, the defenseless and those in need, God’s very image is found” (No. 61). In Christus vivit: “Keep running, attracted by the face of Christ, whom we love so much, whom we adore in the Holy Eucharist and acknowledge in the flesh of our suffering brothers and sisters” (No. 299). In the encyclical Laudato Si’ the theme recurs. For example, Francis’ disciple, Saint Bonaventure, tells us that, “from a reflection on the primary source of all things, filled with even more abundant piety, [Francis] would call creatures, no matter how small, by the name of ‘brother’ or ‘sister’” (No. 11).

[6] Cf. Ignatius of Loyola, Spiritual Exercises, Nos. 103-106.

[7] Francis, Apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, No. 139.

[8] A. Spadaro, “Le orme di un pastore. Una conversazione con Papa Francesco”, in J. M. Bergoglio/Papa Francesco, Nei tuoi occhi è la mia parola. Omelie e discorsi di Buenos Aires 1999-2013, Milano, Rizzoli, 2016, XVI.

[9] Cf. Ignatius of Loyola, Spiritual Exercises, No. 22.

[10] D. Fares, “Pope Francis and Fraternity” , Civ. Catt. En. Sept 2019 https://www.laciviltacattolica.com/pope-francis-and-fraternity.

[11] Cf. D. Fares, “La fratellanza umana”, op. cit., 122.

[12] L. Marechal, Adàn Buenosayres, Montreal, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2014.