VATICAN CITY (LifeSiteNews) – The first World Meeting on Human Fraternity organized by the Vatican was marked by the signing of a document promoting “environmental” and “spiritual fraternity” and calls for peace, but notable for a total absence of references to Christ or Catholicism.
Based on Pope Francis’ “blasphemous” encyclical Fratelli Tutti, the first World Meeting on Human Fraternity took place in St. Peter’s Square on June 10. Organized by the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communications, the Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development, and the Fratelli Tutti foundation, the event was aimed at promoting “fraternity, dialogue, and peace.”
Pope Francis was originally scheduled to attend, but due to his recent hospitalization was not present, with Cardinal Pietro Parolin (Secretary of State) and Mauro Gambetti (Archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica) being the ranking Catholic prelates in attendance.
LifeSite’s sources noted that the event, planned many months in advance, was given priority over Corpus Christi celebrations at the Vatican – both in planning and in taking place.
Pop stars outside the Vatican
The event was billed as a means to demonstrate that “human fraternity is possible,” with the Vatican stating beforehand that the event would be “giving visibility and support to Pope Francis’ dream of a global human family living relationships of dialogue, solidarity and justice.”
The preparations alone displayed the significance that Pope Francis placed on the event, with stalls being set up down the entire length of the Via della Conciliazione many days beforehand. June 10 saw the stalls filled with Italian food and drink products, with crowds able to enter St. Peter’s Square for the more official Vatican element of the event.
Yet even despite the quite obvious attempts to draw people to the Vatican via the attraction of artisan food stalls, the event was vastly underwhelming in its attendance. Starting at 4 p.m., at the height of the afternoon heat, crowds were numbered in the hundreds rather than the thousands. Indeed, so few and so obvious was the lack of attendance that observers quipped online that the social media promotional phrase should be “Quite alone” rather than “not alone.”
Indeed, the event had been promoted as an encounter of “human fraternity,” led by Pope Francis and the assembled dignitaries. However, while the Vatican had informed the world of a document that would be signed, it had failed to reveal what the document would contain.
As a result, it seems hardly surprising that the event – now held without the Pope – was even less warmly received and attended than critics could have even expected.
Singers, dancers, pop and classical music stars (such as Andrea Bocelli) took to the stage outside the Vatican, standing to the side of where the outdoor altar is placed. The event resembled more of a concert than a sight more customarily expected outside of the Vatican, with numerous loudspeakers and television cameras in place – far more than the customary setup used by Vatican media for its livestream.
Italian ballet dancer Roberto Bolle performed a routine on the stage, dancing – as appears not uncommon for him – topless, leading many to express outrage online that such a dance had been held outside the Vatican, as well as being performed just in front of a children’s choir.
Cdl. Gambetti archpriest of St Peter’s Basilica addresses the square, followed later by an interpretative dance from a male dancer. pic.twitter.com/G9qwOiOZMG
— Michael Haynes 🇻🇦 (@MLJHaynes) June 10, 2023
One of the later performers was Italian rapper “Mr. Rain,” whose generous use of the loudspeakers ensured that the rap music was blasted across St. Peter’s Square.
— Michael Haynes 🇻🇦 (@MLJHaynes) June 10, 2023
Cardinal Gambetti led a recitation of the Our Father for Pope Francis’ recovery, but otherwise the two cardinals present were notable in how they were treated – dignitaries alongside other lay and non-Christian dignitaries, in a non-Catholic event.
Non-religious document on ‘fraternity’
The Vatican’s highlight of the event was the signing of the newly composed document on human fraternity. With the Pope thus represented by Parolin, the cardinal joined 30 Nobel Peace Prize laureates in signing the “Declaration of Human Fraternity,” which drew from the spirit of Fratelli Tutti, and also avoided any mention of Christ, God or Catholicism.
It was read aloud by Nobel Prize winners Nadia Murad and Muhammad Yunus, who both signed the document on behalf of the other Nobel laureates present, followed by Cardinal Parolin.
Opening with a quotation from Pope Francis, the document promotes the style of fraternity that the Pontiff wrote on in Fratelli Tutti – divorced from religion and anchored in human fraternity aside from God.
Every man is our brother, every woman is our sister, always. We want all to live together, as brothers and sisters in the Garden that is the Earth. The Garden of fraternity is the condition for all life.
While not referencing God or the Catholic faith at all, the document calls on people to “to live our relationships based on fraternity, fueled by dialogue and by forgiveness.” Heavily drawing from Fratelli Tutti, the document is not written in Pope Francis’ name but looks to him and his writings as a foundation.
Various forms of fraternity were highlighted, including social fraternity, spiritual fraternity, environmental fraternity:
Together, we want to build an environmental fraternity, to make Peace with nature, knowing that “everything is in relation to everything else”: the fate of the world, the care of creation, the harmony of nature and sustainable lifestyles. We want to build the future on the notes of Saint Francis’s Canticle of the Creatures, the song of eternal Life. The plot of universal fraternity weaves the threads of the Canticle’s verses: everything is in relation, and in relation with everything and everyone is Life.
Rather than promoting religion as the solution to any of the numerous global crises referenced in the document, the text posited man as the answer to such problems: “Our children, our future can only thrive in a world of peace, justice and equality, to the benefit of the single human family: only fraternity can generate humanity.”
It is up to our freedom to want fraternity and to build it together, in unity. Join us in signing this appeal to embrace this dream and transform it into daily practices, so that it reaches the minds and hearts of all leaders and of those who, at every level, have a small or great civic responsibility.
Although confined to his hospital apartments, Pope Francis had a message for the event read aloud by Cardinal Gambetti, in which the Pontiff echoed the themes of the newly signed document. The text, he stated, “offers us a grammar of fraternity and is an effective guide for living it and witnessing to it every day in a concrete way.”
The Vatican also highlighted how eight other squares in cities around the world simultaneously joined in the event, so that “participants around the globe can share and promote their own experiences of fraternity.”
Assembled young people from countries across the globe were present in St. Peter’s Square, each wearing bibs with their national flags. They joined hands and formed a circle in what Vatican News described as reflecting the columns encircling the square, and “as a concrete sign of fraternity.”
The event marked yet another key step in Pope Francis’ regular promotion of “fraternity,” in a manner marked by separation from Catholicism, or indeed Christianity.
According to Church historian Roberto de Mattei, when “fraternity” is divorced from Christian charity, “far from constituting an element of cohesion in society,” it “becomes the source of its disintegration.” He argued that “if men, in the name of fraternity, are forced to live together without an end that gives meaning to their sense of belonging, the ‘ark’ becomes a prison.”
Fratelli Tutti has also been similarly condemend by former Papal Nuncio to the U.S., Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, as promoting a “blasphemous” form of brotherhood without God as well as “religious indifferentism.”
Viganò added that “religious indifferentism, implicitly promoted in the text Fratelli Tutti, which defines as ‘a good for our societies’ the presence of any religion – instead of ‘the liberty and exaltation of Holy Mother Church’ – denies in fact the sovereign rights of Jesus Christ, King and Lord of individuals, of the societies and of nations.”