“God has created all human beings equal in rights, duties and dignity, and has called them to live together as brothers and sisters”, so stated Pope Francis in his Encyclical Letter Fratelli Tutti (FT 5). Indeed, the spirit of fraternity considers everyone as a brother or sister. It springs from the basic conviction that all belong to one human family. Hence, every human person is worthy of love and care. Moreover, it recognises that each one has a dignity that must be respected, defended, and promoted in all circumstances. Considered this way, the difference of race, colour, language, religion, or nationality is not a cause for discrimination, but an opportunity for mutual enrichment through loving care. An authentic fraternal vision of humanity focuses on what brings everyone close and keeps them together rather than on what divides and discriminates.
Unfortunately, today’s globalised world is pursuing a direction opposed to such a spirit of universal fraternity. The global trend of indifference is disturbingly visible also in today’s Indian society. However, for everyone to live happily and safely, global indifference must give way to a universal fraternity. The spirit of social friendship must replace the reigning politics of exclusion. How true, then, are these words of Pope Francis, who applies the Parable of Good Samaritan to our times:
The parable is clear and straightforward, yet it also evokes the interior struggle that each of us experiences as we gradually come to know ourselves through our relationships with our brothers and sisters. Sooner or later, we will all encounter a person who is suffering. Today there are more and more of them. The decision to include or exclude those lying wounded along the roadside can serve as a criterion for judging every economic, political, social and religious project. Each day we have to decide whether to be Good Samaritans or indifferent bystanders (FT 69).
At last, Pope Francis, commenting on the Parable of Good Samaritan, highlights the relevance and importance of fraternity even for our times:
Now there are only two kinds of people: those who care for someone who is hurting and those who pass by; those who bend down to help and those who look the other way and hurry off. Here, all our distinctions, labels and masks fall away: it is the moment of truth. Will we bend down to touch and heal the wounds of others? Will we bend down and help another to get up? This is today’s challenge, and we should not be afraid to face it (FT 70).
“Therefore, it is our hope that the articles of this book help us to face without fear this challenge of fraternity, not only by outlining the difficulties of fraternal living in the present Indian situation, but also by proposing specific and practical steps to deal with these challenges by educating the young in the light of ‘Fratelli Tutti’. We also hope that this book facilitates further critical reflection and dialogue and, thus, promotes concrete actions by educators and mentors of young people, social workers and spiritual guides in accompanying the young along the Pathways to Fraternity” Fr Pudumai Doss concludes.
Published by All India Don Bosco Education Society (AIDBES), 341 pages