ColumnistsFederico Piana

Universal fraternity, key to the future

Pope Francis is convinced that only universal fraternity and common divine filiation can transform our world today.

January 8, 2023-Reading time: 2 minutes

Is there really a cure that can heal the world from the wounds caused by selfishness, wars, violence, indifference? 

Pope Francis is convinced that this medicine exists, and it has a name: universal fraternity. He has repeated it many times during his almost ten years of pontificate. Each of his magisterial documents contains a clear reference to how today it is more urgent than ever that each heart abandon its own selfishness and allow itself to be infected by the heart of the other, in an empathetic and not simply superficial way. 

In his recent message to the 56th World Day of Peace In his address, the Holy Father again explained how the hard lesson of Covid-19 made all humanity understand that there can be no peaceful future if we do not help one another, that no one can save himself alone. The dimension of universal fraternity also concerns States and governments. Diplomatic relations cannot but be permeated with mutual respect and support, otherwise tensions, rivalries and conflicts are generated. 

The most flagrant example is the war in Ukraine. Precisely in relation to the lack of universal fraternity, the Pope judges the Russian aggression "a defeat of all mankind and not only of the parties involved".. To be truly solid, the universal fraternity must rest on what Pope Francis calls a solid and indestructible pillar: the awareness of common divine filiation. The historic document on Human brotherhood for world peace and common coexistence, signed in Abu Dhabi in 2019 with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmad Al-Tayyeb, makes it clear that every religion leads the believer to see in the other a brother to support and love. "From faith in God, creator of the universe, of creatures and of all human beings - equal by His mercy - the believer is called to express this human fraternity, safeguarding creation and the entire universe and supporting every person, especially the neediest and poorest.", reads the text. Here, this indication, as simple as it is true, makes it seem a deep offense to God that religious teaching incites hatred, revenge and holy war. Universal fraternity, in short, is the only way out for the world, even if it seems fragile, and each of us - believer or not - must practice and defend it. The alternative is a humanity without hope, lost in its immeasurable sorrows.

The authorFederico Piana

 Journalist. He works for Vatican Radio and collaborates with L'Osservatore Romano.

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