A seamless ethic for siblings all: the hope of Fratelli tutti

Posted on: 12th October 2022  |
Author: Cardinal Michael Czerny SJ
Category: Social justice and environment
Tags: pope francis, fraternity, Fratelli tutti

In a lecture to honour Chicago’s Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, a visionary leader who died a quarter of a century ago, Cardinal Michael Czerny SJ has argued that ‘a consistent ethic of life is also a consistent ethic of solidarity’. Drawing on papal texts from Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum novarum to Pope Francis’ Fratelli tutti, Cardinal Czerny considers how authentic human development requires us to recognise and treat one another as sibling offspring of God.

Catholic social doctrine, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin wrote, is based on two inseparable truths about the human person:

Human life is both sacred and social. Because we esteem human life as sacred, we have a duty to protect and foster it at all stages of development, from conception to death, and in all circumstances. Because we acknowledge that human life is also social, we must develop the kind of societal environment that protects and fosters its development.[1]

Appreciating the wisdom and relevance of this teaching, we continue his legacy. His second successor as Archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal Blase Cupich, has enriched Bernardin’s ethical teaching with this explicit emphasis:

The Church is calling for a consistent ethic of solidarity that aims at making sure no one, from the first moment of life to natural death, from the wealthiest community to our poorest neighbourhoods, is excluded from the table of life.[2]

‘I have come that they may have life’, declared Jesus, ‘and have it to the full’ (John 10:10). Pope St Paul VI used the expression ‘integral human development’ to convey the idea of life in abundance, life to the full, the flourishing of human life in salvation history.[3] ‘Integral’ because the sacred and the social imply each other (as both Bernardin and Cupich said), and because the human and creation are completely interconnected (as Laudato si’ spelled out). So, ours is a multi-faceted mission on earth: to care for one another, for we are all sibling offspring of God, and to care for our common home. ‘Integral Human Development’ is the name of the Vatican’s dicastery where I serve.

Please note: there are several related and even synonymous terms at work here – sacred, seamless, social, solidarity, consistent, inclusive, integral. Let them help us to pay closer attention, open our minds and hearts, broaden our horizons, move us towards various relevant frontiers. In the background, I make use of the ‘see-judge-act’ methodology that has become widespread in Catholic social analysis. First, understand the issues in their multifaceted complexity; next, affirm a resolution consistent with one’s values and principles; and then identify concrete paths forward to commit to.

Fratelli tutti is our primary text of reference,[4] seeking to render our Church’s pastoral mission, solidarity and ethics as inclusive as creation and redemption.

Common origin / common dignity / siblings all

‘The Book of Job sees our origin in the one Creator as the basis of certain common rights: “Did not He who made me in the womb also make him [the slave]? And did not the same One fashion us [both] in the womb?”’[5]

St John reflected: ‘See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are’ (1 John 3:1).

From the gospels, from the apostles, from the early writings of the Church Fathers to today’s encyclicals and exhortations, the Church’s moral and social doctrine develops to protect human dignity and promote a more adequate understanding of the human person. It begins with fully acknowledging that we are created by God, are children of God, made in the image and likeness of God.

In the gospels, when he gives us the Lord’s Prayer, Christ instructs us to address God with the familial word ‘abba’ – a name even more intimate and informal than our word ‘father’. The Sermon on the Mount encourages us to regard each other as ‘children of God’. The Acts of the Apostles depicts the community of first Christians as sibling believers in a family wherein all was shared according to need. St Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians continues in this vein, describing us as siblings in the family of God, united as a mystical body.

The recent Document on Human Fraternity opens with: ‘In the name of God, who has created all human beings equal in rights, duties and dignity, and who has called them to live together as brothers and sisters, to fill the earth and make known the values of goodness, love and peace...’[6]. So we are born not in isolation but as siblings in God’s family, not self-sufficient but with gifts and obligations, called to care and share but free to sin, members of one human family and indeed one mystical body.

A flawed and deteriorating anthropology

But over and over humans have acted as if to deny our common origin, dignity and siblinghood, and continue to do so. Tragically, unjustly and acting contrary to life, the momentum of our age frustrates integral human development and neglects the divinely appointed role to care for our common home. We act against the sacredness of human life (Bernardin), and against solidarity with one another (Cupich) and with creation.

At its core, many of the contradictions that our present age poses for integral human development turn on erroneous understandings of the human person: flawed anthropology. For 130 years, Catholic Social Teaching has been trying to correct this flawed and corrupted anthropology.

Let’s go back to the first social encyclical. In Rerum novarum, written in 1891, Pope Leo XIII referred to the various classes of society, foreseeing their being ‘united in the bonds of friendship, but also in those of sibling love’ in an anticipation of Fratelli tutti.

They will understand and feel that all men are children of the same common Father, who is God; that all have alike the same last end, which is God Himself, who alone can make either men or angels absolutely and perfectly happy; that each and all are redeemed and made sons of God, by Jesus Christ, ‘the first-born among many brethren’ (Rom. 8:17); that the blessings of nature and the gifts of grace belong to the whole human race in common, and that from none except the unworthy is withheld the inheritance of the kingdom of Heaven.[7]

In 1931 in his encyclical Quadragesimo anno, Pope Pius XI called this corrupted understanding of the human person a ‘poisoned spring’.[8] He meant the idea – associated with libertarians at that time and with today’s neoliberals – that the right ordering of economic life should be left to free market competition. For Pius, this represented an ‘evil individualistic spirit’.

In 1967, Pope St Paul VI similarly addressed the problem in his encyclical, Populorum progressio and even more directly in his 1971 apostolic letter, Octogesima adveniens in which he recalled that ‘at the very root of philosophical liberalism is an erroneous affirmation of the autonomy of the individual in his activity, his motivation and the exercise of his liberty’.[9] While exalting economic efficiency to the point of dominating all other values, individual autonomy was attractive as a defence against totalitarian tendencies.

Pope St John Paul II made the crucial point that, while private property is legitimate and valid, the right to it must always be subordinated to the universal destination of goods, the notion that the goods of the earth are given by God to all persons. Pope St John Paul refers to this as a ‘social mortgage’:

It is necessary to state once more the characteristic principle of Christian social doctrine: the goods of this world are originally meant for all. The right to private property is valid and necessary, but it does not nullify the value of this principle. Private property, in fact, is under a ‘social mortgage,’ which means that it has an intrinsically social function, based upon and justified precisely by the principle of the universal destination of goods.[10]

And indeed, in Fratelli tutti, Pope Francis returns to this theme, arguing that the right to private property should be considered a secondary natural right, subordinated to the universal destination of goods.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI also contributed to our understanding of Catholic social doctrine. He worried about the effects of globalisation on human bonds: ‘As society becomes ever more globalised, it makes us neighbours but does not make us siblings,’[11] he noted. He goes on to list some of the concrete problems of globalisation:

The global market has stimulated first and foremost, on the part of rich countries, a search for areas in which to outsource production at low cost with a view to reducing the prices of many goods, increasing purchasing power and thus accelerating the rate of development in terms of greater availability of consumer goods for the domestic market. Consequently, the market has prompted new forms of competition between States as they seek to attract foreign businesses to set up production centres, by means of a variety of instruments, including favourable fiscal regimes and deregulation of the labour market. These processes have led to a downsizing of social security systems as the price to be paid for seeking greater competitive advantage in the global market, with consequent grave danger for the rights of workers, for fundamental human rights and for the solidarity associated with the traditional forms of the social State.[12]

Over time, as Church, we grow into understanding human nature, leaving behind flawed anthropologies which used to justify slavery, the oppression of women, etc. Catholic Social Teaching at its best is an honest effort to keep on improving our appreciation of our nature, setting misrecognitions aside. We seek to accompany society and its evolving political cultures in the same task: holding up a mirror, examining in the light of scriptures, calling to repentance and trying again. It is therefore with considerable humility that we claim the Church as an expert in humanity.[13]

Good anthropology comes first

This same concern with addressing flawed anthropology infuses Fratelli tutti. The title of chapter 3, ‘Envisaging and engendering an open world’, expresses the goal of the encyclical’s thinking. The starting point is this anthropological affirmation that quotes Gaudium et spes: ‘Human beings are so made that they cannot live, develop and find fulfilment except “in the sincere gift of self to others”’.[14]

These words from Gaudium et spes, comments John Paul II,

…can be said to sum up the whole of Christian anthropology: that theory and practice, based on the Gospel, in which man discovers himself as belonging to Christ and discovers that in Christ he is raised to the status of a child of God, and so understands better his own dignity as man, precisely because he is the subject of God's approach and presence, the subject of the divine condescension, which contains the prospect and the very root of definitive glorification.[15]

Fratelli tutti goes on to explicate how the ‘gift of self’ is the path to fullness:

Nor can they fully know themselves apart from an encounter with other persons: ‘I communicate effectively with myself only insofar as I communicate with others.’ No one can experience the true beauty of life without relating to others, without having real faces to love. This is part of the mystery of authentic human existence. ‘Life exists where there is bonding, communion, fraternity; and life is stronger than death when it is built on true relationships and bonds of fidelity. On the contrary, there is no life when we claim to be self-sufficient and live as islands: in these attitudes, death prevails.’[16]

‘Authentic human development concerns the whole of the person in every single dimension’, including the transcendent dimension, and the person cannot be sacrificed for the sake of attaining a particular good, whether this be economic or social, individual or collective.[17]

For Francis, self-giving, the continuous giving of self, is what grounds and orients integral human development. When does a person fully experience his or her dignity as a creature loved by God and acknowledged by humankind? This happens when a person reaches the existential point of freely and consciously opting for the gift of self to others and for others.[18] This depends not only upon ‘external’ conditions (the right to food, housing, work, healthcare, education, social services, etc.), but also inner ones (personal maturity aways seeking to get beyond narcissistic self-centredness).

Because our present age militates against this Christian understanding of the human person, it therefore fails to promote authentic integral human development and instead pushes so many fake models, so many deformations, so much pessimism and ‘why bother?’ Pope Francis takes sharp aim at the ideology in which self-interest and indifference are not only tolerated but justified and indeed imposed, solidarity is side-lined as optional, the common good reduced to an abstraction, and people deprived of their proper hope. To counter these tendencies, it is urgent for the Church to proclaim to each one of us, that it is in making a gift of myself to others that the meaning of all that I am is at stake and becomes real.

‘It is irksome when the question of ethics is raised’ (Evangelii gaudium, §203)

In 2009, in his encyclical Caritas in veritate, Pope Benedict correctly interpreted the global financial crisis (we’re still living with the fall-out) as a crisis of ethics.

Four years later, a few months after becoming pope, in Evangelii gaudium, Francis robustly rejected the neoliberal claim that the free market alone can foster human flourishing:

In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed. Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own. The culture of prosperity deadens us; we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase. In the meantime, all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us.[19]

In Laudato si’, Pope Francis condemns a culture of relativism, which ‘drives one person to take advantage of another, to treat others as mere objects’. He is deeply concerned with what he calls integral ecology, the idea that how we treat nature and our fellow human beings are interconnected.

Soon after, in possibly some of his strongest remarks delivered on the global economy, in a speech to popular movements in Bolivia in 2015, Pope Francis denounced the current economic system: ‘The first task is to put the economy at the service of peoples’, he says. ‘Human beings and nature must not be at the service of money. Let us say NO to an economy of exclusion and inequality, where money rules, rather than service. That economy kills. That economy excludes. That economy destroys Mother Earth’.[20]

This is a strong indictment.

And once again, this exclusionary stance comes from a flawed anthropology. In Fratelli tutti, Pope Francis criticises this disordered anthropology of individualism, which leads to a distortion of the idea of liberty. To quote the Holy Father: ‘Liberty becomes nothing more than a condition for living as we will, completely free to choose to whom or what we will belong, or simply to possess or exploit. This shallow understanding has little to do with the richness of a liberty directed above all to love’.[21] Moreover, ‘individualism does not make us more free, more equal, more fraternal. The mere sum of individual interests is not capable of generating a better world for the whole human family’.[22]

Taking direct aim at the neoliberal ideology, Francis declares:

The marketplace, by itself, cannot resolve every problem, however much we are asked to believe this dogma of neoliberal faith. Whatever the challenge, this impoverished and repetitive school of thought always offers the same recipes. Neoliberalism simply reproduces itself by resorting to the magic theories of ‘spillover’ or ‘trickle’ – without using the name – as the only solution to societal problems. There is little appreciation of the fact that the alleged ‘spillover’ does not resolve the inequality that gives rise to new forms of violence threatening the fabric of society.[23]

Succinctly bringing together all the dimensions:

The right of some to free enterprise or market freedom cannot supersede the rights of peoples and the dignity of the poor, or, for that matter, respect for the natural environment, for ‘if we make something our own, it is only to administer it for the good of all.’[24]

Illustrating a consistent ethic for tomorrow

The tunic or undergarment that Jesus wore on his way to Calvary was woven in one piece from top to bottom (John 19:23). This image was first used as a moral ideal by the Catholic pacifist Eileen Egan in 1971, and nearly forty years ago[25] Cardinal Bernardin began making the expression and related idea of a consistent life ethic more widely known and accepted. I would like to draw out this theme to elaborate further the Church’s teaching on economics. In so doing I hope to give support to Bernardin’s profound insight that the Church’s teachings on human life and social life find their coherent expression in the Christian mission of promoting integral human development.

Since Rerum novarum of 1891, for over 130 years, the Church has expressed support for the market economy on two conditions: that it be properly regulated and that its protagonists be guided by appropriate virtues. The Church teaches that a market economy requires participants who have been formed in virtue. In addition, the Church teaches that markets need to be directed by legitimate authority toward universal public goods and towards the common good of all. As noted earlier, it cannot be left to the free competition of forces. It cannot be dominated by the flawed anthropology of libertarianism and neoliberalism.

Especially in response to the 2008 financial crisis, the Church has observed that markets lack intrinsic means to modulate their operation for public goods such as care for the environment, public health, or preferencing distributive justice for those in poverty. Nor are economic markets able in themselves to respect principles of morality. If suppliers are willing to sell and consumers are willing to buy, then anything can be traded – human trafficking is a horrible example. So, the Church consistently and repeatedly denounces market economies when their excesses result in neglecting the needs and diminishing the lives of significant majorities, leaving them vulnerable, marginalised and impoverished.

As Pope Benedict XVI explained in Caritas in veritate:

Economic activity cannot solve all social problems through the simple application of commercial logic. This needs to be directed towards the pursuit of the common good, for which the political community in particular must also take responsibility. Therefore, it must be borne in mind that grave imbalances are produced when economic action, conceived merely as an engine for wealth creation, is detached from political action, conceived as a means for pursuing justice through redistribution.[26]

Theoretically, the global market economy should be a coming together of sellers and buyers in which production provides goods and services to be purchased by individualised consumers for their needs and wants. Free market advocates insist that if the market is truly free, then by the logic of competition, it yields the most efficient outcome, the highest quality, and the greatest satisfaction of consumer demand.

Of course, no perfectly free market has ever existed. Producers and sellers organise in monopolies or international conglomerates to manipulate supply and prices. The state and other outside powers intervene for reasons both noble and self-interested. Indeed, the market is always subject to the rules laid down by society and politics – whether we are talking about libertarianism, with its emphasis on property rights, or social democracy, which elevates economic rights. There is always a directing principle.

Regardless of their degree of freedom, however, economic markets powerfully shape the choices and the character of those who participate in their operation. In fact, market operations can create conditions of moral relativism. As I already noted, Pope Francis raises the spectre of the ‘culture of relativism’ when, in Laudato si’, he sees it as ‘the same disorder which drives one person to take advantage of another, to treat others as mere objects, imposing forced labour on them or enslaving them to pay their debts’. It is furthermore,

… the mindset of those who say: ‘Let us allow the invisible forces of the market to regulate the economy, and consider their impact on society and nature as collateral damage.’ In the absence of objective truths or sound principles other than the satisfaction of our own desires and immediate needs, what limits can be placed on human trafficking, organized crime, the drug trade, commerce in blood diamonds and the fur of endangered species?[27]

The market mindset shapes how human beings understand themselves, their perception of values, their worldview. And it does so facelessly and automatically.

A favourite example of mine is bottled water. Years ago, an expert in this field showed me how problematic bottled water is. Bottled water puts a price on what should be readily available. In many parts of the world beer is cheaper and cleaner than water; this can have a social cost because of domestic violence and other complications. Discarded plastic bottles are a significant source of environmental degradation. Bottled water also de-incentivises governments from providing clean drinking water, for municipally provided water from a tap, defined as a public service, needs to meet higher standards of purity than water sold as a food item. How can the majority of us be manipulated into spending money on an item sold in an environmentally damaging container, when what’s delivered to our homes is purer and much cheaper? It’s nothing short of astonishing.

Challenges on a global scale

Let us now briefly examine how our global economy promotes the viruses of materialism and consumerism on the world stage.

Because its invisible hands inexorably promote what sells over anything that does not sell, the global economy often makes it difficult even for well-meaning participants to choose what might be better for the common good, better for the impoverished among us, better to care for the environment – in other words, morally better.

The anthropology promoted in the economic sphere is that of ‘homo economicus’. It conceives of the human person as individualised and competitively driven to maximise material self-interest and to look at the world simply as a mere collection of objects to be bought and sold. Even other human beings can be objectified for self-interest or else viewed merely as competitors to be overcome. Seen in this guise the human being becomes not a beloved creation of God, but simply another tool or resource in the market economy.

The false anthropology of homo economicus can be opposed and overcome by an economics infused by the principles of Catholic Social Teaching.[28] And let’s be clear that Catholic Social Teaching is primarily concerned, not with dos and don’ts, but with bringing the good news into the public sphere and directing practical responses to real problems posed by current events including economic injustices, in the light of the gospel and Catholic tradition.[29]

Fratelli tutti warns that the enormous power of our global economy works to separate us from solidarity with others. Pope Francis writes that the economy ‘…unifies the world, but divides persons and nations … We are more alone than ever in an increasingly massified world that promotes individual interests and weakens the communitarian dimension of life. Indeed, there are markets where individuals become mere consumers or bystanders.’[30]

In light of the enormities of the global economy and driven by that economy to focus on material self-interest and to see others as competitors, the human person feels isolated and vulnerable. Alone against the vast forces of the global economy, we feel weak and at risk. Indeed, we can experience this as a profound alienation and fear for ourselves. And of course for the poor, those whom the economy fails, they’re seen as the ‘lazy’ and the ‘losers’, further adding to their isolation and sense of defeat.

Alienation and fear unleash a downward spiral that some might seek to resolve by seeing the world as a confrontation of us-versus-them. In the words of Pope Francis:

Ancient conflicts thought long buried are breaking out anew, while instances of a myopic, extremist, resentful, and aggressive nationalism are on the rise. In some countries, a concept of popular and national unity influenced by various ideologies is creating new forms of selfishness and a loss of the social sense under the guise of defending national interests.[31]

As we know from past centuries and the current one, many can be led to resolve their alienation and fear via submission to leaders who feed on resentment or promise retribution.

Why does it seem more and more difficult for our Church to teach effectively about the human person? Why does a flawed conception seem to entrench itself deeper and deeper in the structures of modern life? And where else do we see it manifest besides flawed economics? A longer discussion could certainly examine the technocratic paradigm, which Francis castigates in Laudato si’ for its distortion of the essential human character; and perhaps also the perverse dynamics of mass society spawned by aberrations of mass social media.

The consistent ethics of life and solidarity

To sum up so far: the functioning of the global market economy tends more and more to objectify the human person, isolate the human person in fragile and fearful individualism, and prioritise self-interests over the common good. All of this is fundamentally at odds with the sanctity and dignity of human life.

Some seem to connect the idea of a consistent ethic of life and solidarity exclusively with biological life from conception to natural death. But to limit our understanding of the consistent ethic of life to mere bodily human life is a worrisome reduction of the full richness of the Church’s teaching on the sanctity and dignity of human life. Consider, for example, how the global economy results in sweeping inequalities for life and for opportunities to live with dignity. Do not the shorter lifespans and higher infant mortalities of those in poverty cry to heaven for justice and mercy in the same way that deaths of unborn do? Are not the indignities and mistreatment of the lives of those marginalised and oppressed by the invisible hands of the market also contrary to what we should perceive as the consistent ethic of life?

Fratelli tutti speaks of the unregulated market’s anti-life attitude as ‘throwing away’ or ‘discarding’ others:

This way of discarding others can take a variety of forms, such as an obsession with reducing labour costs with no concern for its grave consequences, since the unemployment that it directly generates leads to the expansion of poverty. In addition, a readiness to discard others finds expression in vicious attitudes that we thought long past, such as racism, which retreats underground only to keep re-emerging.[32]

Nor can mere toleration ever be enough, leading as it inevitably does to a pernicious relativism.

Under the guise of tolerance, relativism ultimately leaves the interpretation of moral values to those in power, to be defined as they see fit. ‘In the absence of objective truths or sound principles other than the satisfaction of our own desires and immediate needs… we should not think that political efforts or the force of law will be sufficient… When the culture itself is corrupt, and objective truth and universally valid principles are no longer upheld, then laws can only be seen as arbitrary impositions or obstacles to be avoided’.[33]

A larger picture of what it means to be pro-life, of what we should understand to be the consistent ethic of life, begins to become clearer. It is certainly not enough to simply oppose abortion and euthanasia. Nor is it enough to recognise and tolerate the dignity of all lives, even with special tolerance for those who, unlike us, are marginalised or poor.

No, Christ’s garment is truly seamless and whole. To be genuinely pro-life also requires accompanying, welcoming and joining together with others as sibling children of God – especially those who, because of their difference, are hardest for us to love.

A consistent ethic of life is also a consistent ethic of solidarity.

Fratelli tutti and conclusion

The contemporary world is at odds with the ethic of solidarity that is so essential in the Christian conception of the human person. In militating against solidarity, moreover, the processes of the contemporary world also militate against the ethic of life.

Our age’s dynamics seen in the global economy promote a radical but also a fragile and fearful individualism that impels us to look upon others not as our siblings under God but as others whose differences must be spurned, as competitors to be dominated, as objects for our use, and as potential threats to be feared.

If we accept the great principle that there are rights born of our inalienable human dignity, we can rise to the challenge of envisaging a new humanity. We can aspire to a world that provides land, housing and work [terra, techo, trabajo] for all. This is the true path of peace, not the senseless and myopic strategy of sowing fear and mistrust in the face of outside threats. For a real and lasting peace will only be possible ‘on the basis of a global ethic of solidarity and cooperation in the service of a future shaped by interdependence and shared responsibility in the whole human family.’[34]

Pope Francis builds towards this global ethic from the most local level: the Good Samaritan encounter that answers the question, ‘who is my neighbour?’ The Samaritan not only sets aside his personal priorities; he even helps someone whom his community sees as an enemy. This is the summit of solidarity, of treating the other as thou. The parable reminds us, says Francis, of ‘an essential and often forgotten aspect of our common humanity: we were created for a fulfilment that can only be found in love…. We … cannot allow anyone to go through life as an outcast.’[35]

Recognising each other as the sibling offspring of God that we are, let us come together in solidarity and social friendship to rebuild this broken world, our only home, this human race, our one and only family under God.


Cardinal Michael Czerny SJ is Prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development: www.humandevelopment.va


This article is based on the text of a keynote lecture delivered at the Bernardin Centre of the Catholic Theological Union, Chicago, on 17 September 2022, during a conference entitled 'Life, Solidarity, Fraternity: The Consistent Ethic of Life in Light of Fratelli Tutti'.


[1] Joseph Bernardin, ‘Address for the National Consultation on Obscenity, Pornography, and Indecency’, Cincinnati, Ohio, 6 Sept 1984. In Thomas G Feuchtmann, ed., Consistent Ethic of Life: Joseph Cardinal Bernardin (Sheed and Ward, 1988), p. 29.

[2] Michael Sean Winters, ‘+Cupich: “A Consistent Ethic of Solidarity”’, National Catholic Reporter, 18 September 2015. Cf. Michael Sean Winters, ‘Cardinal Cupich points to a new consistent ethic of solidarity,’ National Catholic Reporter, 31 May 2017.

[3] Pope Paul VI, Populorum Progressio (1967), §§14-17.

[4] Cf. Michael Czerny and Christian Barone, Siblings All, Sign of the Times: The Social Teaching of Pope Francis (Orbis Books, 2022).

[5] Pope Francis, Fratelli tutti (2020), §58, quoting Job 31:15. Job bases a slave’s claim to justice on creation common to both freeman and slave.

[6] Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together, Abu Dhabi, 4 February 2019. See Fratelli tutti, §285.

[7] Leo XIII, Rerum novarum (1891), §25.

[8] Pius XI, Quadragesimo anno (1931), §88.

[9] Paul VI, Octogesima adveniens (1971), §35.

[10] John Paul II, Sollicitudo rei socialis (1987), §42.

[11] Benedict XVI, Caritas in veritate (2009), §19.

[12] Ibid., §25.

[13] ‘Esperta in umanità’, Paul VI, Populorum progressio, §13. But the official English translation says, ‘The Church, which has long experience in human affairs…’

[14] Pope Francis, Fratelli tutti, §87. See also §111: ‘The human person, with his or her inalienable rights, is by nature open to relationship. Implanted deep within us is the call to transcend ourselves through an encounter with others.’

[15] John Paul II, Dominum et vivificantem (1986), §59.

[16] Pope Francis, Fratelli tutti §87, quoting Gabriel Marcel, Du refus à l’invocation; and Pope Francis, Angelus (10 November 2019).

[17] Pope Benedict XVI, Message for the 2012 World Day of Peace, §3.

[18] Similar points are emerging in Black theologies of struggle: dignity is not found in a static sense as apprehension but rather experienced and understood in the act of struggling against indignities others suffer and in the gift of self in solidarity. Cf. Vincent W. Lloyd, Black Dignity: The Struggle against Domination (Yale University Press, 2022).

[19] Pope Francis, Evangelii gaudium (2013), §54.

[20] Pope Francis, Address to Second World Meeting of Popular Movements, Santa Cruz, Bolivia, 9 July 2015, §3.1

[21] Pope Francis, Fratelli tutti, §103.

[22] Ibid., §105.

[23] Ibid., §168.

[24] Ibid., §122 quoting Pope Francis, Laudato si’ (2015), §95.

[25] At a lecture at Fordham University, 6 December 1983.

[26] Benedict XVI, Caritas in veritate (2009), §36.

[27] Pope Francis, Laudato si’, §123.

[28] Anthony M. Annett, Cathonomics: How Catholic Tradition Can Create a More Just Economy (Georgetown University Press, 2022).

[29] Anna Rowlands, Towards a Politics of Communion: Catholic Social Teaching in Dark Times (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2021).

[30] Pope Francis, Fratelli tutti, §12.

[31] Ibid., §11.

[32] Pope Francis, Fratelli tutti, §20.

[33] Pope Francis, Fratelli tutti, §206.

[34] Ibid., §127 quoting Pope Francis, Address on Nuclear Weapons, Nagasaki, Japan (24 November 2019).

[35] Ibid., §68.


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