CAIRO: The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayeb said on Sunday that Pope Francis’s social encyclical “Fratelli Tutti” (“Brothers and Sisters All”) revealed “a global reality” of flawed societies and systems.
Pope Francis signed the new encyclical on Saturday, Oct. 4, on the Feast of Saint Francis, in the city of Assisi in Italy, the medieval home of the saint, as an extension of the “Document on Human Fraternity” signed by himself and Sheikh El-Tayeb in the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi in early February 2019.
“My brother Pope Francis’s message — that we are all brothers and sisters — comes as an extension of the ‘Document on Human Fraternity,’” Sheikh El-Tayeb said through his Twitter account.
“The message addresses those with goodwill and a living conscience, and restores humanity’s consciousness.”
In his encyclical, the Pope called for a return to “the promotion of good for the sake of ourselves and for the sake of all humanity.”
He said: “We must have the courage to give a voice to those who are discriminated against ... The world has existed for everyone because we are all human beings. We are born on this earth with the same dignity.
“Equality is not achieved by simply saying that all human beings are equal, but rather is a result of conscious and educational development. How much our human family needs to learn to live together in harmony and peace without the need for all of us to be alike,” he added.
“The old conflicts that are believed to have been buried a long time ago are erupting again, while extremism, resentful nationalism and aggression are increasing ... fraternity is based on the practice of social friendship by people and nations (who) call for a better type of politics, one that is truly in the service of the common good,” Pope Francis continued.
Saint Francis was a medieval Christian monk known for his pledges to confront poverty, his love of nature and the rejection of violence.
The 83-year-old Pope, and who is named after the saint, is the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, which has 1.3 billion followers around the world, and suggested that the coronavirus disease pandemic should inspire a rethinking of global priorities.
Pope Francis also expressed his regret that “exaggeration, extremism and polarization in many countries have become political tools today,” and he blamed social media for contributing to the decline in standards of public debate.