INTERVIEW: Cardinal Czerny: Human Fraternity Idealized in ‘Fratelli Tutti’ Can Enable Us to Care for Our Common Home

Canadian Prelate & Close Papal Collaborator Points to ‘Good Samaritan’ as Model for Change

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

The ideal of human fraternity wished for by Pope Francis in Fratelli Tutti, if brought to fruition, can enable us, together, to care for our Common Home.

In an interview with ZENIT, Cardinal Michael Czerny, the Czech-born Canadian prelate who serves as under-secretary of the Migrants and Refugee Section of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting an Integral Human Development, expressed this.

Cardinal Czerny is widely considered a very close collaborator of the Holy Father. Headed by Pope Francis, the Migrants & Refugees Section helps the Church to accompany refugees, those who are forced to migrate or victims of human Trafficking.

ZENIT Senior Vatican Correspondent spoke to Cardinal Czerny in the Vatican after the release of the Pope’s third encyclical, which was presented in the New Synod Hall of the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall on Sunday, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the morning after the Holy Father signed the text at the Tomb of St. Francis in the charming Umbrian hilltown.

INTERVIEW: Living Pandemic Worldwide–Cardinal Ayuso Says–Gives Pope’s ‘Fratelli Tutti’ Heightened Concreteness

‘Fratelli Tutti’ draws inspiration from the Document on Human Fraternity Pope Francis signed with the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, during his Feb. 3-5, 2019, Apostolic Trip to the United Arab Emirates. ZENIT English was on the Papal Flight for that first trip of a Pope to the Arabian Peninsula. Since then, under Cardinal Ayuso’s dicastery, with various faiths, including several Muslims, a Higher Committee was instituted for achieving the goals contained in the document.

Here is our conversation with Cardinal Czerny:


ZENIT: Cardinal Czerny, you are a close collaborator of the Holy Father. What are your own hopes for this new encyclical on Human Fraternity, and what do you consider its value?

Cardinal Czerny: My hope is that in its variety, in its many chapters, that it will be available to many, many, many people, in many different ways. And to put it very simply: that many people will have the opportunity to discover that the title is both the ideal and the task. We are brothers and sisters, and how much remains to be done, how much remains for me to change, so that we are really brothers and sisters. And if we are really brothers and sisters, then maybe we will be able to take care of our common home. And so then, it all comes together

ZENIT: Concretely, how can this be done? What needs to be done, for instance at the individual level to arrive at the International Community, from your point of view…

Cardinal Czerny: From my point of view, what needs to be done is that your question be asked by every reader, or viewer. In other words, there is not one answer, but there is a question. And if the question reaches people, we’ll get there, together.

ZENIT: What do you find particularly meaningful or moving about the document?

Cardinal Czerny:  The Good Samaritan. The very striking thing for many people will be that the Good Samaritan, which has always been an ideal of charity, an ideal of responding, is here presented as the necessary way of seeing reality. So it’s not just a parable of response, but a parable of perception, a parable of appreciation of our reality. And that, I think, is a marvelous deepening of the Good News of the Good Samaritan.

ZENIT: Thanks again, Your Eminence.

FEATURE: A Glimpse of Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter ‘Fratelli Tutti’ on Human Fraternity and Social Friendship

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': or

Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation