[P2P-F] Fwd: Another Extraordinary Statement from Pope Francis--something to contemplate over the winter holidays and discuss with your famil

Michel Bauwens michel at p2pfoundation.net
Thu Dec 19 05:49:05 CET 2013

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Tikkun/NSP-Network of Spiritual Progressives <
info at spiritualprogressives.org>
Date: Mon, Dec 16, 2013 at 5:41 PM
Subject: Another Extraordinary Statement from Pope Francis--something to
contemplate over the winter holidays and discuss with your famil
To: Michelsub2004 at gmail.com


This newest statement from Pope Francis (reprinted below)  should be read,
contemplated, and discussed with your family and friends during the next
few weeks when you have winter vacation! We at the interfaith and
secular-humanist-welcoming NSP-- Network of Spiritual Progressives urge the
Pope to make this teaching incumbent upon all within his faith community,
and to give it higher priority than the Catholic Church has given in past
years to issues of sexuality like homosexuality and abortion, and to
require Catholics to teach this in their churches and to support public
policies in accord with this perspective, else these amazing words will
remain just words. And let us join with and support our Catholic sisters
and brothers who are seeking to have the Pope take the next necessary steps
to end the patriarchal and homophobic traditions in the Catholic Church,
allow women to be priests, bishops, cardinals, etc., allow priests to
marry, and return to Jesus' attempts to give full and equal power to
women--just as we should be challenging patriarchal and homophobic
traditions and practices in every religion and every secular or
non-religious community.

And if YOU (from whatever religious or secular worldview) are as inspired
by this teaching as we are, we hope that you'll join our Network of
Spiritual Progressives and, even better, come to the spiritual activist
training we will be doing over the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend
in January (details and registration at *www.spiritualprogressives.org/training
Though there is a sliding fee scale for registration, anyone truly
committed to the NSP perspective (as articulated in our Spiritual Covenant
with America, our ESRA--Environmental and Social Responsibillity Amendment
to the U.S. Constitution, and our Global Marshall Plan, all of which you
can read at www.spiritualprogresssives.org) who can't afford the
registration fee can come for what you can afford, whatever that is!! Just
email us: RabbiLerner.tikkun at gmail.com. Instead of saying, "If only there
were more like Pope Francis in every religious and secular community, more
Martin Luther King, Jr.s, more Mahatma Gandhis" we need to become the
allies and extensions of these great leaders, even while acknowledging our
imperfections and limitations. That's what we, in deep humility about our
limitations and flaws, are trying to do with the Network of Spiritual
Progressives. And, as Rabbi Hillel said, "If not now, when?"



1 JANUARY 2014


1. In this, my first Message for the World Day of Peace, I wish to offer to
everyone, individuals and peoples, my best wishes for a life filled with
joy and hope. In the heart of every man and woman is the desire for a full
life, including that irrepressible longing for fraternity which draws us to
fellowship with others and enables us to see them not as enemies or rivals,
but as brothers and sisters to be accepted and embraced.

Fraternity is an essential human quality, for we are relational beings. A
lively awareness of our relatedness helps us to look upon and to treat each
person as a true sister or brother; without fraternity it is impossible to
build a just society and a solid and lasting peace. We should remember that
fraternity is generally first learned in the family, thanks above all to
the responsible and complementary roles of each of its members,
particularly the father and the mother. The family is the wellspring of all
fraternity, and as such it is the foundation and the first pathway to
peace, since, by its vocation, it is meant to spread its love to the world
around it.

The ever-increasing number of interconnections and communications in
today’s world makes us powerfully aware of the unity and common destiny of
the nations. In the dynamics of history, and in the diversity of ethnic
groups, societies and cultures, we see the seeds of a vocation to form a
community composed of brothers and sisters who accept and care for one
another. But this vocation is still frequently denied and ignored in a
world marked by a “globalization of indifference” which makes us slowly
inured to the suffering of others and closed in on ourselves.

In many parts of the world, there seems to be no end to grave offences
against fundamental human rights, especially the right to life and the
right to religious freedom. The tragic phenomenon of human trafficking, in
which the unscrupulous prey on the lives and the desperation of others, is
but one unsettling example of this. Alongside overt armed conflicts are the
less visible but no less cruel wars fought in the economic and financial
sectors with means which are equally destructive of lives, families and

Globalization, as Benedict XVI pointed out, makes us neighbours, but does
not make us brothers.[1] The many situations of inequality, poverty and
injustice, are signs not only of a profound lack of fraternity, but also of
the absence of a culture of solidarity. New ideologies, characterized by
rampant individualism, egocentrism and materialistic consumerism, weaken
social bonds, fuelling that “throw away” mentality which leads to contempt
for, and the abandonment of, the weakest and those considered “useless”. In
this way human coexistence increasingly tends to resemble a mere *do ut
des *which is both pragmatic and selfish.

At the same time, it appears clear that contemporary ethical systems remain
incapable of producing authentic bonds of fraternity, since a fraternity
devoid of reference to a common Father as its ultimate foundation is unable
to endure.[2] True brotherhood among people presupposes and demands a
transcendent Fatherhood. Based on the recognition of this fatherhood, human
fraternity is consolidated: each person becomes a “neighbour” who cares for

*“Where is your brother?” (Gen 4:9)*

2. To understand more fully this human vocation to fraternity, to recognize
more clearly the obstacles standing in the way of its realization and to
identify ways of overcoming them, it is of primary importance to let
oneself be led by knowledge of God’s plan, which is presented in an eminent
way in sacred Scripture.

According to the biblical account of creation, all people are descended
from common parents, Adam and Eve, the couple created by God in his image
and likeness (cf. *Gen* 1:26), to whom Cain and Abel were born. In the
story of this first family, we see the origins of society and the evolution
of relations between individuals and peoples.

Abel is a shepherd, Cain is a farmer. Their profound identity and their
vocation is to *be brothers*, albeit in the diversity of their activity and
culture, their way of relating to God and to creation. Cain’s murder of
Abel bears tragic witness to his radical rejection of their vocation to be
brothers. Their story (cf. *Gen* 4:1-16) brings out the difficult task to
which all men and women are called, to live as one, each taking care of the
other. Cain, incapable of accepting God’s preference for Abel who had
offered him the best of his flock – “The Lord had regard for Abel and his
offering; but for Cain and his offering he had no regard” (*Gen* 4:4-5) –
killed Abel out of jealousy. In this way, he refused to regard Abel as a
brother, to relate to him rightly, to live in the presence of God by
assuming his responsibility to care for and to protect others. By asking
him “Where is your brother?”, God holds Cain accountable for what he has
done. He answers: “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” (*Gen* 4:9).
Then, the Book of Genesis tells us, “Cain went away from the presence of
the Lord” (4:16).

We need to ask ourselves what were the real reasons which led Cain to
disregard the bond of fraternity and, at the same time, the bond of
reciprocity and fellowship which joined him to his brother Abel. God
himself condemns and reproves Cain’s collusion with evil: “sin is crouching
at your door” (*Gen* 4:7). But Cain refuses to turn against evil and
decides instead to raise his “hand against his brother Abel” (*Gen* 4:8),
thus scorning God’s plan. In this way, he thwarts his primordial calling to
be a child of God and to live in fraternity.

The story of Cain and Abel teaches that we have an inherent calling to
fraternity, but also the tragic capacity to betray that calling. This is
witnessed by our daily acts of selfishness, which are at the root of so
many wars and so much injustice: many men and women die at the hands of
their brothers and sisters who are incapable of seeing themselves as such,
that is, as beings made for reciprocity, for communion and self-giving.

*“And you will all be brothers” *(*Mt 23:8)*

3. The question naturally arises: Can the men and women of this world ever
fully respond to the longing for fraternity placed within them by God the
Father? Will they ever manage by their power alone to overcome
indifference, egoism and hatred, and to accept the legitimate differences
typical of brothers and sisters?

By paraphrasing his words, we can summarize the answer given by the Lord
Jesus: “For you have only one Father, who is God, and you are all brothers
and sisters” (cf. *Mt* 23:8-9). The basis of fraternity is found in God’s
fatherhood. We are not speaking of a generic fatherhood, indistinct and
historically ineffectual, but rather of the specific and extraordinarily
concrete personal love of God for each man and woman (cf. *Mt* 6:25-30). It
is a fatherhood, then, which effectively generates fraternity, because the
love of God, once welcomed, becomes the most formidable means of
transforming our lives and relationships with others, opening us to
solidarity and to genuine sharing.

In a particular way, human fraternity is regenerated *in* and *by* Jesus
Christ through his death and resurrection. The Cross is the definitive
*foundational *locus of that fraternity which human beings are not capable
of generating themselves. Jesus Christ, who assumed human nature in order
to redeem it, loving the Father unto death on the Cross (cf. *Phil* 2:8),
has through his resurrection made of us a *new humanity*, in full communion
with the will of God, with his plan, which includes the full realization of
our vocation to fraternity.

From the beginning, Jesus takes up the plan of the Father, acknowledging
its primacy over all else. But Christ, with his abandonment to death for
love of the Father, becomes the *definitive and new principle* of us all;
we are called to regard ourselves in him as brothers and  sisters, inasmuch
as we are *children* of the same Father. He himself is the Covenant; in his
person we are reconciled with God and with one another as brothers and
sisters. Jesus’ death on the Cross also brings an end to the
*separation* between
peoples, between the people of the Covenant and the people of the Gentiles,
who were bereft of hope until that moment, since they were not party to the
pacts of the Promise. As we read in the Letter to the Ephesians, Jesus
Christ is the one who reconciles all people in himself. He* is* peace, for
he made one people out of the two, breaking down the wall of separation
which divided them, that is, the hostility between them. He created in
himself one people, one new man, one new humanity (cf. 2:14-16).

All who accept the life of Christ and live in him acknowledge God as Father
and give themselves completely to him, loving him above all things. The
reconciled person sees in God the Father of all, and, as a consequence, is
spurred on to live a life of fraternity open to all. In Christ, the other
is welcomed and loved as a son or daughter of God, as a brother or sister,
not as a stranger, much less as a rival or even an enemy. In God’s family,
where all are sons and daughters of the same Father, and, because they are
grafted to Christ, *sons and daughters in the Son*, there are no
“disposable lives”. All men and women enjoy an equal and inviolable
dignity. All are loved by God. All have been redeemed by the blood of
Christ, who died on the Cross and rose for all. This is the reason why no
one can remain indifferent before the lot of our brothers and sisters.

*Fraternity, the foundation and pathway to peace*

4. This being said, it is easy to realize that fraternity is the
*foundation* and *pathway* of peace. The social encyclicals written by my
predecessors can be very helpful in this regard. It would be sufficient to
draw on the definitions of peace found in the encyclicals *Populorum
Progressio* by Pope Paul VI and *Sollicitudo Rei Socialis* by John Paul II.

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