At the core of ‘Fratelli tutti’ is Francis’s conviction that the world is fast losing its sense of the oneness of the human family.
With the disappearance of the common good, dialogue, and solidarity as animating social ideas, humanity is fast sliding into the darkness of civil strife, conflict, tribalism, and nationalism.
In part this is the outgrowth of a lopsided modernity. Of the three great aims of the French Revolution—liberty, equality and fraternity—the Western world has been obsessed with the first two, while ignoring or downgrading the third. Yet without fraternity, liberty descends into permissiveness and avarice, a license for the powerful to possess and exploit, while equality is reduced to a kind of abstraction, with endless squabbles over identity and a constant temptation to uniformity. Only a proper sense of the worth of every person and a recognition of his or her dignity provides an adequate basic principle of social life. “Unless this basic principle is upheld,” says Francis, “there will be no future either for fraternity or for the survival of humanity” (107).