A Vatican Observer Pope Francis: a new encyclical to outline his post-COVID 19 vision?

CNA 5707db756b5c6 105097 Press conference on Pope Francis' post-synodal apostolic exhortation

Pope Francis will issue a new encyclical on the human fraternity. The document will outline Pope Francis' vision for the world after the COVID 19 pandemic. However, the encyclical will not be the only Papal text on which to focus. The Pope will also send a message to the general assembly of the United Nations-on September 15-and deliver two important speeches: one to the Global Compact for Education and one to the upcoming "Economy of Francis" event.

These four pieces will lay out how Pope Francis wants the world to respond to the pandemic's challenges.

Pope Francis already gave some indication of his vision for the world post-COVID 19. On Easter Sunday, he sent a letter to popular movements. In the letter, he advocated for a new economic model that would not marginalize the poor. He called for a universal basic income for the lowest-wage workers excluded from globalization's benefits.

Other clues come from the catecheses Pope Francis is delivering every Wednesday at his weekly General Audience. The catecheses are about the social teaching of the Church as viewed through the lens of the pandemic.

Pope Francis is developing some recurrent themes: he keeps saying that we cannot emerge from the pandemic unchanged, but must be either better or worse; he says that the effects of the pandemic are worsened from the economic model that makes things harder for the poor, both in facing the financial crisis and the illness; he advocates the building of more equal societies; he underscores that the pandemic led us to rethink the pace of our lives, which must now be turned into an ecological conversion that could let humanity finally respond to the environmental crisis.

We can assume that these will be the guidelines of the vision Pope Francis will outline.

The UN assembly will be held via video conference, but it is an important one since it marks the organization's 75th anniversary. Expect the main focus to be on how to get out of the crisis caused by the pandemic. Francis will likely underscore that it is crucial to get out of the crisis with new economic models, and not simply using the old ones or tweaking them. That. He will likely argue, would mean getting out of the crisis "worse".

The Global Compact on Education will take place on October 15. Pope Francis' speech will likely focus on the recognition that "everything is connected," as he stated in Laudato si'. When Pope Francis launched the Global Compact on Education, he stressed:

"In my Encyclical Laudato si', I invited everyone to cooperate in caring for our common home and to confront together the challenges that we face. Now, a few years later, I renew my invitation to dialogue on how we are shaping the future of our planet and the need to employ the talents of all, since all change requires an educational process aimed at developing a new universal solidarity and a more welcoming society". 

Hence, the endorsement of "a global event on the theme Reinventing the Global Compact on Education." He then expressed the hope that the meeting would "rekindle our dedication for and with young people, renewing our passion for a more open and inclusive education," which nust always include "patient listening, constructive dialogue and better mutual understanding."

"Never before," Pope Francis went on to say, "has there been such need to unite our efforts in a broad educational alliance, to form mature individuals capable of overcoming division and antagonism, and to restore the fabric of relationships for the sake of a more fraternal humanity."

Pope Francis will focus on the new generation in his intervention to the event "Economy of Francesco." Scheduled to take place in Assisi on November 21, it seems that there will be a virtual meeting, while the conference itself will be postponed to the next year. Pope Francis will take part in the event anyway. 

The "Economy of Francis" meeting will gather young economics students from all over the world to study and propose a new economic model for the world.

Pope Francis will likely emphasize financial challenges. He will ask to oppose the "economy that kills," and call instead for a new model for financing enterprise and ask businesses and the world of finance to act for equality and care for the poor. 

All of these speeches and thoughts will converge in Pope Francis's encyclical.

Bishop Domenico Pompili of Rieti revealed on August 26 that the Pope was going to publish a new encyclical on human fraternity. The diocese of Rieti is home to many Franciscan places, including the setting of the world's first Nativity scene. Bishop Pompili made his remarks at an event launching a committee to celebrate a series of Franciscan anniversaries from now to 2026, the 800th anniversary of St. Francis of Assisi's death. 

St. Francis will be then the lodestar of the encyclica, the title of which should be: We are all brothers. Rumor says Pope Francis will sign on October 4-the feast of St. Francis-and present it to the world on October 5. 

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Pope Francis wrote it during lockdown.

Expect it to enlarge on the notion of fraternity summarily stated in the Declaration on Human Fraternity Pope Francis signed with the Grand Imam of al Azhar, Ahmed bin Tayyeb, in Abu Dhabi in February 4, 2019. Ever since, that declaration has become a guide for Francis's diplomatic efforts, and the Pope has given it to every head of State who has come to visit him in the Vatican since the Declaration was published. 

Brotherhood has always been a central theme of this pontificate. Pope 'Francis's very first message for the World Day of Peace, in 2014, was on "Fraternity, foundation and pathway for peace." In 2015, the message for the World Day of Peace was on the topic "No longer slaves, but brothers and sisters". 

Fraternity will be the point from which we may expect Pope Francis to relaunch the "globalization of solidarity" he considers to be the antidote to the "throwaway culture". 

Once these four texts are out, we will have Pope 'Francis's thoughts on social and economic issues after the coronavirus crisis given a global framework. Pope Francis already developed most of the themes, so there will likely be not anything new. We may, however, learn more about specifics of the new approach or see a more in-depth articulation of it.

It is meaningful that these four pillar-pieces will be presented as celebrations for the 5th anniversary of Laudato si' are also underway. As if the Pope, five years ago, took a snapshot of the way he saw the world, and now is trying to indicate the way to the future. 

One question is: will the Pope's articulation of his vision include an explicit call for profound conversion to Christ, or merely treat us to a deeper and more detailed version of the Pope's socio-economic ideas? 

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