On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Monday, 19 October 2020
Contrary to some earlier expectations, Pope Francis’ new encyclical Fratelli Tutti is not about Covid-19 but about the global political disease in which Covid thrives. Francis makes this clear by pointing out that Covid-19 is
“exposing our false securities. Aside from the different ways that various countries responded to the crisis, their inability to work together became quite evident. For all our hyper-connectivity, we witnessed a fragmentation that made it more difficult to resolve problems that affect us all. Anyone who thinks that the only lesson to be learned was the need to improve what we were already doing, or to refine existing systems and regulations, is denying reality.” (FT, no.7).
Symptoms of this disease include a divide and conquer globalism, rooted in a mentality of limitless consumption and endless individualism, leading to indifference to others that denies the common family of humankind. Covid-19 has exposed a globally unequal society (including economic and gender inequality), bringing to the fore a politics of racism, xenophobia and hatred. The latter is often expressed in defamation of political opponents and outright lying, articulated in the kind of uncouth language that was hitherto considered unthinkable in public discourse.
The solution to this, says Francis, is in the search for truth and solutions through sustained and respectful dialogue, framed by the question ‘Who is my neighbour?’ – a question Jesus answered in the parable of the Good Samaritan.