Fratelli Tutti 143: Firm Foundations

143. The solution is not an openness that spurns its own richness. Just as there can be no dialogue with “others” without a sense of our own identity, so there can be no openness between peoples except on the basis of love for one’s own land, one’s own people, one’s own cultural roots. I cannot truly encounter another unless I stand on firm foundations, for it is on the basis of these that I can accept the gift the other brings and in turn offer an authentic gift of my own.

This rather demolishes the notion that one world culture means no other cultures. If only we lived in a world where cultures could be shared and not steamrolled. 

I can welcome others who are different, and value the unique contribution they have to make, only if I am firmly rooted in my own people and culture. Everyone loves and cares for his or her native land and village, just as they love and care for their home and are personally responsible for its upkeep. The common good likewise requires that we protect and love our native land. Otherwise, the consequences of a disaster in one country will end up affecting the entire planet.

This last piece is significant:

All this brings out the positive meaning of the right to property: I care for and cultivate something that I possess, in such a way that it can contribute to the good of all.

This is important in two ways. First for physical possessions, it ensures that what we own has a meaning beyond hoarding. 

It also brings to mind what I once heard preached at a wedding. The sacramentality of a marriage is also expressed in how the couple responds to needs around them: not only children and family, but the poor. Does shared committed love inspire people to a deeper generosity with their own love? Or does it mean two people turn inward on themselves and withdraw from the world and its concerns? Likewise any sacrament–baptism, for example. What good is baptism if it is only a sacrament of one, and not a reaching out to others, obeying Jesus’ mandatum for evangelization?

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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