Pope Francis introduced his new encyclical, “Fratelli tutti,” in his Angelus address Sunday, saying that “human fraternity and the care of creation” were the only paths forward for humanity.
Speaking from a window overlooking St. Peter’s Square Oct. 4, the pope recalled that he visited Assisi the day before to sign the encyclical at the tomb of St. Francis, who also inspired his 2015 encyclical “Laudato si’.”
He said: “The signs of the times clearly show that human fraternity and the care of creation form the only path towards integral development and peace, already indicated by the saintly popes John XXIII, Paul VI and John Paul II.”
He announced that he would be giving out copies of the encyclical, printed in a special edition of L’Osservatore Romano, to pilgrims present for the Angelus. This was the first printed edition of the newspaper since the coronavirus crisis, during which it was only available online.
The pope added: “May St. Francis accompany the journey of fraternity in the Church, among believers of all religions, and among all peoples.”
In his reflection before the Angelus, the pope meditated on the day’s Gospel reading (Matthew 21:33-43), known as the Parable of the Bad Tenants, in which a landowner lends a vineyard to tenants who abuse the landowner’s servants before killing his son.
Pope Francis said that in the parable Jesus foresees his own Passion and death.
“With this very harsh parable, Jesus confronts his interlocutors with their responsibility, and He does so with extreme clarity,” he said.
“But let us not think that this admonition applies only to those who rejected Jesus at that time. It applies to all times, including our own. Even today God awaits the fruits of His vineyard from those He has sent to work in it.”
He suggested that Church leaders in every age faced the temptation to do their own work, instead of God’s.
“The vineyard is the Lord’s, not ours. Authority is a service, and as such should be exercised, for the good of all and for the dissemination of the Gospel,” he said.
Against a background of financial scandals at the Vatican, he added: “It is bad to see when in the Church people in authority seek their own interests.”
He then turned to the day’s second reading (Philippians 4:6-9), in which St. Paul the Apostle explains “how to be good workers in the Lord’s vineyard,” by embracing all that is “true, noble, just, pure, loved and honoured.”
“In this way we shall become a Church ever richer in the fruits of holiness, we shall give glory to the Father who loves us with infinite tenderness, to the Son who continues to give us salvation, and to the Spirit who opens our hearts and impels us towards the fullness of goodness,” the pope said.
Before praying the Angelus, he urged Catholics to renew their commitment to praying the rosary throughout October.
After the Angelus, the pope introduced his new encyclical, then noted that Oct. 4 marked the end of the “Season of Creation,” which began on Sept. 1. He said he rejoiced to see various initiatives marking the day, including one at the Po Delta in northern Italy.
He highlighted the 100th anniversary of the founding of the seafarers’ charity Stella Maris in Scotland.
He also recalled that today marked the beatification of Fr. Olinto Marella in Bologna. He described Marella, a priest who served the poor and homeless in the Italian city, as a “pastor according to the heart of Christ, father of the poor and defender of the weak.”
He asked for a round of applause for the priest, a classmate of the future Pope John XXIII, hailing him as a model for priests.
Finally, the pope greeted new recruits to the Swiss Guards, who were sworn in a ceremony at the Vatican on Sunday, asking pilgrims to applaud them warmly as they began their service.