Pope Francis: Respond to conflict with human fraternity

Hannah Brockhaus   By Hannah Brockhaus for CNA


Pope Francis releases a dove after praying for the victims of war in Mosul, Iraq, March 7, 2021. Photo credits: Vatican Media. / null

Vatican City, Feb 4, 2022 / 06:10 am (CNA).

Pope Francis on Friday encouraged people of all religious faiths to combat the world’s darkness and conflict with signs of fraternity.

“Let us counter the many threatening signs, times of darkness, and mindsets of conflict with the sign of fraternity that, in accepting others and respecting their identity, invites them to a shared journey,” the pope said on Feb. 4.

The pope’s video message was sent to mark the third anniversary of the “Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together,” which Francis signed with Ahmed el-Tayeb, Grand Imam of al-Azhar, during an interreligious meeting in Abu Dhabi on Feb. 4, 2019.

In 2020, the United Nations established the International Day of Human Fraternity, to be observed annually on Feb. 4.

U.S. President Joe Biden marked the day with a letter urging open-mindedness, cooperation, empathy, dialogue, and tolerance in response to today’s challenges.

“In my own life, faith has always been a beacon of hope and a calling to purpose even during the darkest of days,” Biden wrote.

“Sacred teachings across faith traditions command that we love one another, serve and protect the most vulnerable, and uphold the dignity of every person, which is what the International Day of Human Fraternity is all about.”

Pope Francis said: “Fraternity is one of the fundamental and universal values that ought to undergird relationships between peoples, so that the suffering or disadvantaged do not feel excluded and forgotten, but accepted and supported as part of the one human family.”

“We all live under the same heaven and, in the name of God, we who are his creatures must acknowledge that we are brothers and sisters. As believers from different religious traditions, we have a role to play,” he said.

“What is that role? To help our brothers and sisters raise their eyes and their prayers to heaven.”

He added: “Let us raise our eyes to heaven, because whoever worships God with a sincere heart also loves his or her neighbor. Fraternity makes us open to the Father of all and enables us to see others as our brothers or sisters, to share life, to support one another, and to love and come to know others.”

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  1. The Sermon on the Mount was a message to mankind. Most of the people in that crowd would have been Jews. Though some might have been people from other groups and religions. There were no baptized Christians there but the teaching applies to all of us.

    • Then why do you suppose Francis is so hostile to the moral particulars of the Sermon on the Mount and so consistently insulting towards those who affirm them?
      The only thoughts left-wingers have to offer humanity are cheap sentimentalities that avoid the sort of honest specifics that might require that they come to terms with their very real crimes against humanity when they seek to actually define and implement policies of impoverishing and murdering tyrannical governance “for the people.”

      • What you say applies equally to left-wingers and the right-wingers. Both groups seek to implement evil policies to which you refer. Your ignorance or sheer hatred of Pope Francis is once again on display.

    • Following the Napoleonic Wars, and reflecting on the edifice of Prince Metternich (and of all modern politics), the scholar and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger wrote:

      “[it] was the redefinition of the classic theological version of humility, ‘Thy will be done,’ with reason taking the place of God. It represented an effort to deal with the most fundamental problem of politics, which is NOT the control of wickedness but the limitation of righteousness . . . that order once shattered can be restored only by the experience of chaos.”

      Pope St. John Paul II said something similar, counseling that the positive Sermon on the Mount does NOT replace prohibitions and the Commandments:

      “…the commandment of love of God and neighbor does not have in its dynamic any higher limit, but it does have a lower limit, beneath which the commandment is broken” (Veritatis Splendor, 1993, n. 52).

      This complete picture questions the premise, to what extend do we really worship the same God? Yes, universal human nature is not totally depraved and, yes, the working of grace is a mystery fully known but to God. So, an appeal to “fraternity” is not to be rejected, but as a possible ideology, it also and truly is not enough.

  2. Teaching ambiguity or lacking charity for the word of God suggests a misunderstanding of Scripture and a rejection of the Holy Spirit’s lights. From Scripture, we infer that God favors certain men. Men of today do well to conform our minds to God’s.

    1)Cain and Abel were brothers. God accepted Abel’s sacrifice but rejected Cain’s.
    2) Joseph’s many brothers hated Joseph because their father favored him.
    3) Solomon’s lust overruled his wisdom when he allowed his wives to have altars built in Jerusalem for worship of pagan gods. Solomon then lost God’s favor. (1 Kings 11:7–8).

    Many other scripture stories reveal the truth that God favors those who obey and please Him. The first three of the Ten Commandments address man’s obligation to God; only then are obligations to man commanded.

    Jesus also taught the first and greatest commandment as love of God. Only then did He teach that the second commandment was ‘like’ the first. He did not say the next ‘equaled’ the first.

    Jesus spoke of obedience to God’s commandments many times, asserting obedience as synonymous with love of God. Obedient love of God is man’s first priority. Love of fellow men should be ordered to love of God. We who have been gifted understanding and prudence know that justice and charity are due first to God, next to fellow believers, and last to those who reject, deny, persecute, and act to demonstrate hate for God and his followers.

    Teaching ambiguity and lacking charity for the word of God suggests a misunderstanding of Scripture and a rejection of light the Holy Spirit yearns to give.

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