In an article published on the front page of the Sept. 17 edition of L'Osservatore Romano, Andrea Tornielli addressed a debate over whether the encyclical's title, which means "All brothers" in Italian, excludes women.
"Since it is a direct quotation from St Francis (taken from the Admonitions, 6, 1: FF 155), the Pope has obviously not changed it. But the formulation of the title in no way intends to exclude women, that is, more than half of the human race," wrote the editorial director for the Vatican Dicastery for Communication.
"On the contrary, Francis chose the words of the Saint of Assisi to initiate a reflection on something he cares about very deeply: namely, fraternity and social friendship. He therefore addresses all his sisters and brothers, all men and women who populate the earth: everyone, inclusively, and in no way exclusively."
He explained that the Vatican would use the original Italian title, without translation, when the text is released in multiple languages.
Human fraternity has been an important theme for Pope Francis in recent years. The pope signed "A Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together" during a trip to Abu Dhabi in Feb. 2019. Pope Francis' message for his first World Day of Peace as pope in 2014 was "Fraternity, foundation and pathway for peace."
Pope Francis' previous encyclical, Laudato si', published in 2015, had a title taken from St. Francis of Assisi's "Canticle of the Sun" prayer praising God for creation. Prior to that he published Lumen fidei, an encyclical begun by Benedict XVI before his resignation as pope in 2013.