Fratelli Tutti 27: Walls

On one level, we are still animals. We have countless generations of genetics and basic human drives, both productive and damaging. A culture based on feudalism or colonialism or patriarchy will have a lot of baggage and those assumptions don’t translate well into the third millennium. However much castle walls worked for an agrarian medieval society, we might have too many people in crowded circumstances for this to work outside of a place like the moon or even Antarctica.

27. Paradoxically, we have certain ancestral fears that technological development has not succeeded in eliminating; indeed, those fears have been able to hide and spread behind new technologies. Today too, outside the ancient town walls lies the abyss, the territory of the unknown, the wilderness. Whatever comes from there cannot be trusted, for it is unknown, unfamiliar, not part of the village. It is the territory of the “barbarian”, from whom we must defend ourselves at all costs. As a result, new walls are erected for self-preservation, the outside world ceases to exist and leaves only “my” world, to the point that others, no longer considered human beings possessed of an inalienable dignity, become only “them”.

Insightful. If we can’t build a physical wall, we’ll build another type. Though some still strive for a visible barrier. Militaries too. The last several decades have shown that armies and navies built for the conquest of land will be paralyzed by guerilla warfare and other kinds of resistance. 

Back to walls …

Once more, we encounter “the temptation to build a culture of walls, to raise walls, walls in the heart, walls on the land, in order to prevent this encounter with other cultures, with other people. And those who raise walls will end up as slaves within the very walls they have built. They are left without horizons, for they lack this interchange with others”.[Dialogue with Students and Teachers of the San Carlo College in Milan(6 April 2019): L’Osservatore Romano, 8-9 April 2019, p. 6]

All citations of Fratelli Tutti (which can be found on this link) are © Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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