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Roman Catholic universalism?

It has been rightly called the ‘political manifesto’ of Pope Francis’ pontificate.

Evangelicals and catholics Leonardo de Chirico
Figure Image
Pope Francis greeting Grand Sheik Ahmed al-Tayeb, a Sunni Muslim leader | Photo: Luca Zennaro/EPA

In fact, there is a lot of politics and a lot of sociology in the new encyclical All Brothers, a very long document (130 pages) that looks more like a book than a letter. Francis wants to plead the cause of universal fraternity and social friendship. To do this, he speaks of borders to be broken down, of waste to be avoided, of human rights that are not sufficiently universal, of unjust globalisation, of burdensome pandemics, of migrants to be welcomed, of open societies, of solidarity, of peoples’ rights, of local and global exchanges, of the limits of the liberal political vision, of world governance, of political love, of the recognition of the other, of the injustice of any war, of the abolition of the death penalty. These are all interesting ‘political’ themes which, were it not for some comments on the parable of the Good Samaritan that intersperse the chapters, could have been written by a group of sociologists and humanitarian workers from some international organisation, perhaps after reading, for example, Edgar Morin and Zygmunt Bauman.