On October 26, Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in New York, gave a virtual presentation to the bishops, priests, and deacons of the Archdiocese of New York on Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis’ recent encyclical on universal fraternity and social friendship.
Archbishop Caccia was asked to give the presentation by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, who hosted the session and introduced Archbishop Caccia. Clergy from the Dioceses of Brooklyn and Rockville Centre also participated.
After remarks about the purpose, audience, and structure of the encyclical, signed by Pope Francis on October 3 in Assisi and published the following day, Archbishop Caccia concentrated on Pope Francis’ use of Jesus’ Parable of the Good Samaritan as the means to create a society of friendship and fraternity by becoming “neighbor” to those in need.
He then applied Pope Francis’ insights about the parable to various situations that Pope Francis tackles in the Encyclical, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, wars and conflicts, attacks on human life, the situation of refugees, and migrants, populist movements, effective dialogue, forgiveness, just war theory, the death penalty, and the work of religious leaders.
Pope Francis similarly focuses in the encyclical on the reform of the United Nations, so that the “concept of the family of nations can acquire ‘real teeth.’ … This calls for clear legal limits to avoid power being co-opted only by a few countries and to prevent cultural impositions or a restriction of the basic freedoms of weaker nations on the basis of ideological differences.”
The Pope added that the UN’s work “can be seen as the development and promotion of the rule of law, based on the realization that justice is an essential condition for achieving the ideal of universal fraternity.”
He expressed concern that unless the UN’s problems and shortcomings are “addressed and resolved” that there is a risk that it may be “delegitimized.”
At the end of the half-hour presentation, Archbishop Caccia took questions from the priests for 20 minutes before Cardinal Dolan concluded the session.
To read Archbishop Caccia’s remarks, view his PowerPoint slides or watch the video of his introductory presentation, please click here.
To read Pope Francis’ Fratelli Tutti, please click here.