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All in the same boat

Pope Francis


In delineating the theme for this issue of Ekklesía, we turned to a few fundamental insights offered by Pope Francis in his recent encyclical, Fratelli tutti. These are then further expanded upon in the articles that follow, both in the form of insights and as best practices. Excerpts below are taken from numbers 30, 95 and 137-138 of the encyclical, respectively.

In today’s world, the sense of belonging to a single human family is fading and the dream of working together for justice and peace seems an outdated utopia. What reigns instead is a cool, comfortable, and globalized indifference, born of deep disillusionment concealed behind a deceptive illusion: thinking that we are all-powerful, while failing to realize that we are all in the same boat. This illusion, unmindful of the great fraternal values, leads to “a sort of cynicism. For that is the temptation we face if we go down the road of disenchantment and disappointment… Isolation and withdrawal into one’s own interests are never the way to restore hope and bring about renewal. Rather, it is closeness; it is the culture of encounter. Isolation, no; closeness, yes. Culture clash, no; culture of encounter, yes”1. 

No one can mature or find fulfilment by withdrawing from others. By its very nature, love calls for growth in openness and the ability to accept others as part of a continuing adventure that makes every periphery converge in a greater sense of mutual belonging. As Jesus told us: “You are all brothers” (Mt 23:8).
Mutual assistance between countries proves enriching for each. A country that moves forward while remaining solidly grounded in its original cultural substratum is a treasure for the whole of humanity. We need to develop the awareness that nowadays we are either all saved together or no one is saved. Poverty, decadence and suffering in one part of the earth are a silent breeding ground for problems that will end up affecting the entire planet. If we are troubled by the extinction of certain species, we should be all the more troubled that in some parts of our world individuals or peoples are prevented from developing their potential and beauty by poverty or other structural limitations. In the end, this will impoverish us all.

Although this has always been true, never has it been more evident than in our own day, when the world is interconnected by globalization. 

1 Address to the World of Culture, Cagliari, Italy (22 September 2013): L’Osservatore Romano, 23-24 September 2013, p. 7.

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