Pope Francis’s Politics of Love

Patrick Hornbeck is Professor of Theology at Fordham University, where he is also a J.D. student in the School of Law

Pope Francis’s recent encyclical is the second of his major writings inspired directly by his papal namesake, St. Francis of Assisi. In Laudato Si’, published in 2015, Pope Francis lifted up the saint’s invocation of praise for God’s presence in creation, which the pontiff memorably dubbed “our common home.” Now, in Fratelli tutti, the pope’s focus shifts to the relationships among human persons—“all” the “brothers” whom St. Francis had inspired and invited into his life of radical poverty, simplicity, and friendship. (When the Vatican originally announced the encyclical, it was lost on few that neither the “Fratelli” of the document’s title nor the “fraternity” of its subtitle included women—an ongoing blind spot for many Catholic leaders. The pope does refer to “brothers and sisters” in the encyclical’s second sentence (para. 1).)


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