Commemorating the International Day of Human Fraternity: An Invitation to “Live Together in Diversity” and in “a Spirit of Fraternity”

Elena López Ruf is a lawyer who teaches philosophy of law at the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina and “Religion and the Global World” at Austral University. This post is based in part on her chapter “Religious Freedom, Human Security, and Human Fraternity: Is Religious Freedom a Forgotten Freedom Within the Human Security Framework?” in Security, Religion, and the Rule of Law: International Perspectives (Routledge 2023).

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

—Article I, Universal Declaration of Human Rights

On 21 December 2020, the General Assembly of the United Nations, during its 75th plenary session, established that 4 February be dedicated as an annual International Day of Human Fraternity. The U.N. resolution recognizes the contribution of people of all religions or beliefs to humanity and the importance of promoting inter-religious and intercultural dialogue “to enhance peace and social stability, respect for diversity and mutual respect and to create, at the global level, and also at the regional, national and local levels, an environment conducive to peace and mutual understanding.”[1]


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Fratelli tutti: A Series of Reflections

Dmytro Vovk, Director of the Center for the Rule of Law and Religion Studies at Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University and co-editor of Talk About: Law and Religion

In October 2020, Fratelli tutti, Pope Francis’s new encyclical was released. This 287-paragraph document provides a Catholic perspective on a variety of questions from human dignity and political integration from the lack of public trust and peacemaking to the death penalty and fake news. Talk About: Law and Religion posts a series of theological and philosophical reflections on Fratelli tutti.


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The Renewal of Catholic Social Concerns in Fratelli tutti

Thomas Massaro, S.J., is Professor of Moral Theology at Fordham University in New York City

As understanding the finer points of Roman Catholic ethical doctrine can be a feat in and of itself, it is difficult to blame anyone beyond or even within the worldwide community of Catholic believers if they are somewhat mystified regarding the content and status of those documents that emanate from the Vatican and address moral issues.

The most recent teaching document bears the title Fratelli tuttitwo Italian words best rendered in English as “Brothers and Sisters All.” Pope Francis formally promulgated this document, subtitled, “On Fraternity and Social Friendship,” on October 3, 2020, while visiting the Umbrian town of Assisi to mark the vigil of the memorial feast of the founder of the Franciscan order. Pope Francis affixed his signature to the document in the fitting location of the crypt chapel at the tomb of his revered namesake Saint Francis. Allow me to situate this long and complex document within the historical and doctrinal context in which it emerged, and then to offer a brief assessment of the significance of its primary messages.


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