Pope Francis says the coronavirus pandemic has proven that the “magic theories” of market capitalism have failed and that the world needs a new type of politics that promotes dialogue and solidarity and rejects war at all cost.
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Francis on Sunday laid out his vision for a post-COVID world by uniting the core elements of his social teachings into a new encyclical, “Fratelli Tutti” (Brothers All), which was released on the feast day of his namesake, the peace-loving St. Francis of Assisi.
In it, Francis rejected even the Catholic Church’s own doctrine justifying war as a means of legitimate defense, saying it had been too broadly applied over the centuries and was no longer viable.
“It is very difficult nowadays to invoke the rational criteria elaborated in earlier centuries to speak of the possibility of a ‘just war,’” Francis wrote in the most controversial new element of the encyclical.
Francis had started writing the encyclical, the third of his pontificate, before the coronavirus struck and upended everything from the global economy to every day life. He said the pandemic, however, had confirmed his belief that current political and economic institutions must be reformed to address the legitimate needs of the people most harmed by the pandemic.
“Aside from the differing ways that various countries responded to the crisis, their inability to work together became quite evident,” Francis wrote. “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.”
The title of the encyclical had sparked controversy in the English-speaking world, with critics noting that a straight translation of the word “fratelli” (brothers) excludes women. The Vatican has insisted that the plural form of the word “fratelli” is gender-inclusive and that the document by its very nature is inclusive of women.