(Washington Archbishop Wilton Gregory issued this statement on Pope Francis's new encyclical Fratelli Tutti on Oct. 4, 2020.)

On the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, Pope Francis released his encyclical about the human family, our belonging to each other and our need for each other. The title Fratelli Tutti quotes St. Francis who reminds us that we are all brothers and sisters, no matter our race, creed, country of origin or where we now reside on this good Earth.

I believe that this document has come to us at precisely the right time. COVID-19 obviously has not yet ended. Many have spoken about “a new normal” when the virus will have abated. Rather I think that we should make this tragic pandemic an opportunity to think about “a new different” in terms of what we value, who we value and that we are all in this together.  Pope Francis repeatedly speaks to the renewal of “common good”  language and “common good” actions.

The pope provokes us to pursue a shared life and to seeing “the other” as brother and sister, both as human beings and all as fellow creatures in “our common home.” He invites us to build a “culture of encounter” with pride in expressing how we are Catholics and also how we are enriched by dialogue with all people of good will.