Fratelli Tutti: The Grace of Christ As the Basis for Love and Social Friendship

+ Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo

“For the mystery of the Incarnation we are thereby taught how great is man’s dignity, lest we should sully it with sin; hence Augustine says (De Vera Relig. xvi): ‘God has proved to us how high a place human nature holds amongst creatures, inasmuch as He appeared to men as a true man’. And Pope Leo says in a sermon on the Nativity (xxi): ‘Learn, O Christian, thy worth; and being made a partner of the Divine nature, refuse to return by evil deeds to your former worthlessness’ – Per Incarnationis mysterium instruimur quanta sit dignitas humanae naturae, ne eam inquinemus peccando. Unde dicit Augustinus, in libro De vera religione, ‘demonstravit nobis Deus quam excelsum locum inter creaturas habeat humana natura, in hoc quod hominibus in vero homine apparuit’. Et Leo Papa dicit, in sermone de Nativitate, ‘agnosce, o Christiane, dignitatem tuam, et divinae consors factus naturae, noli in veterem vilitatem degeneri conversatione redire’”
(Summa Theologiae, III, q. 1, a. 2 c.)

The theme that I intend to develop in this article is the anthropological and social meaning of grace as “participation of divine nature”, based on two statements that pervade the Encyclical Fratelli Tutti, which are inspired by Saint Thomas Aquinas and thus deserve to be expanded. These considerations do not pretend to be more than an imperfect tentative sketch of the profound requirements that emerge from the main statements of this excellent and timely Encyclical to solve the issue of our time. I would be the first to recriminate myself if I had betrayed the intention of this great document.

Fraternity and social friendship are based on charity or love

The first significant statement is that fraternity and social friendship are based on charity or love. According to Fratelli Tutti: “The spiritual stature of a person’s life is measured by love, which in the end remains ‘the criterion for the definitive decision about a human life’s worth or lack thereof’ ”.[1] In order to explain what love is, Fratelli Tutti turns to Saint Thomas Aquinas, who “sought to describe the love made possible by God’s grace as a movement outwards towards another, whereby we consider ‘the beloved as somehow united to ourselves’.[2] Our affection for others causes us to want to seek their good for free. This stems from an appreciation of the value of the object of our affection, and is ultimately the idea behind the word ‘charity’: the ones I love are ‘dear’ to me; ‘they are considered of great value’.[3] And ‘the love whereby someone becomes pleasing (grata) to another is the reason why the latter bestows something on him freely (gratis)’[4] ”.[5]

Love or charity is founded on grace of Christ

The second fundamental affirmation is that charity is founded on grace of Christ: “As Christians, we also believe that God grants us his grace to enable us to act as brothers and sisters”.[6] Here too the point of reference is Saint Thomas, even though he is not quoted.

Leaving aside the meaning of grace as an uncreated gift and referring to it as a created gift, the Commentary on the Sentences by P. Lombardo seems to be the text where Aquinas puts the most effort in demonstrating the existence and necessity of grace itself. This is surely due to the fact that when commenting on the Sententiarum, Aquinas had very much in mind the doctrine of its author, P. Lombardo, who maintained that grace (gratia gratum faciens) comprises a set of created infused virtues (faith, hope, moral virtues) that are informed by charity. However, for Lombardo, charity is not a created habitus: it is the Holy Spirit itself who, without mediation, works the act of charity in us. Without mediation does not mean without the cooperation of the creature, but without the mediation of the theological virtue of charity.[7]

St. Thomas responds first of all with an argumentum ad hominem: there is a freely given uncreated gift (datum for free), which is the Holy Spirit. This gift is possessed from a certain time onwards, indicating a mutation in the one who receives the gift, not in the Holy Spirit. The fact of receiving the Holy Spirit adds something to the creature that was not there before: indeed we say that it has the Holy Spirit. Consequently, grace in any of its meanings always expresses something created in the soul, freely given, although it can also indicate something uncreated such as the Holy Spirit. Aquinas says: “Therefore it is necessary that, by the very fact that the Holy Spirit is infused in someone, something is added to that person which was not there before, following the reception of which it can be said that the person has received the Holy Spirit. So grace, in whatever way it is meant, shows that there is something created in the soul, which is given freely: although the word grace can also mean something uncreated; like divine acceptance itself; even the uncreated gift which is the Holy Spirit can be called grace”.[8]

The principle of Pseudo-Dionysus

The main argument that Saint Thomas uses to indicate the created reality of grace originates from the Dionysian principle: quod divinus amor non permisit eum sine germine esse.[9] This principle is explicitly formulated already in the book of Sentences: “Divine love infuses goodness in things: for which Dionysius says (De div. nom. 4) that divine love did not allow him to remain without offspring; and so by saying that God loves someone we indicate that there is an effect of divine love in the beloved”.[10]

Thus, having established the general principle valid for all the causality of God, that is, communication ad extra of God’s life ad intra, the Angelic Master distinguishes the degrees of intensity of divine love, according to the various degrees of goodness that his causality reflects in the creatures. One is the love with which God loves all creatures because he gives them being (existence), perfection and natural action. Another is that simple and perfect love, similar to friendship, by which God not only loves his creatures in the same way as an architect loves his work, but also as the one who participates in their friendship as a friend does with a friend, inasmuch as he elevates them to share his fruition in society so that they may enjoy the glory and beatitude that makes God happy. The text says: “But that is a simply perfect love, almost similar to friendship, the kind with which one not only loves the creature as the artist loves his work, but also with a certain friendly partnership, as a friend (loves) a friend, insofar as it draws them into the company of their own enjoyment of God, so that with this they may have the glory and beatitude with which God is blessed: and this is the love with which one loves saints, which is called love par excellence; and so also the effect of this choice is called grace par excellence, although all natural goodness can also be called grace, since they are freely given by God”.[11]

In the Summa Theologica he describes this love as a dilectio specialis because it elevates (trahit) the rational creature above its nature by making it participate in the divine good that is God himself: “For one is common, whereby He loves all things that are (Wis. 11:25), and thereby gives things their natural being. But the second is a special love, whereby He draws the rational creature above the condition of its nature to a participation of the Divine good; and according to this love He is said to love anyone simply, since it is by this love that God simply wishes the eternal good, which is Himself, for the creature”.[12]

Likewise Saint Thomas again quotes Pseudo-Dionysus to demonstrate the need for a new being of grace (esse gratiae) by whom we are recreated and regenerated in Christ, as the principle of spiritual operations including love or charity: “Therefore Dionysius says that as in nature it happens that that which does not have its species received by generation cannot have the faculties proper to that species, so the one who has not received the divine being through spiritual regeneration cannot participate in the divine operations”.[13]

In a later text from De Veritate, the Angelic Master still affirms that no one can perform spiritual operations without first receiving a spiritual being (esse spirituale): “it is evident in Dionysius where he says that no one can have a spiritual operation unless he first receives a spiritual being (existence), just as he cannot have the operation of a particular nature unless he first has being (existence) in that nature”.[14]

Aristotelian inspiration

Another argument that Aquinas often uses to express the quid creatum of grace is inspired by Aristotle. I am referring in particular to the set of high reflections that are proposed in the Contra Gentiles starting from the final cause. The object is to show that the final cause requires a formal cause proportionate to itself; that is, the need on the part of the human being to possess an immanent form proportionate to the goal to which it must aim and reach. These reflections are formulated differently: “Everything is directed to a suitable end in proportion to its form [...]. Therefore, man needs a supernatural form and perfection added over and above his nature, so as to be suitably directed to that same end”.[15]

The same theme is masterfully developed in the Compendium. It is presented as a requirement of the operative structure of the human being who is free and, consequently, is the master of his actions: the divinum lumen gratiae is imposed on man so that he is perfected in virtue from the interior and in the interior (interius), both in regard to knowledge (quantum ad cognitionem), to action and affection (quantum ad actionem et affectionem), and also to acting (quantum ad agendum). Indeed, the text says: “Divine providence governs individual beings in keeping with their nature. Consequently, since rational creatures – through free will – have dominion over their actions in a way impossible to other creatures [...]. But since the last end of rational creatures exceeds the capacity of their nature and since whatever conduces to the end must be proportionate to the end according to the right order of providence, rational creatures are given divine aids that are not merely proportionate to nature but that transcend the capacity of nature. God infuses into man, over and above the natural faculty of reason, the light of grace whereby he is internally perfected for the exercise of virtue, both as regards knowledge, inasmuch as man’s mind is elevated by this light to the knowledge of truths surpassing reason, and as regards action and affection, inasmuch as man’s affective power is raised by this light above all created things to the love of God, to hope in him, and to the performance of acts that such love imposes”.[16]

But perhaps the most illustrative text of this profound demand that the supernatural principle be intrinsic to the subject is that of the Commentary on II Corinthians: “For in natural things we notice that each natural thing tends towards its own perfection, for which it has a natural desire; hence, to each thing is given the natural power to enable it to attain to its perfection. But God gives man grace, by which he may attain to his ultimate and perfect consummation, i.e., happiness, towards which he has a natural desire”.[17] This text shows man’s natural desire to achieve his ultimate perfection, and consequently his need for something similar to himself, as well as similar to the higher end, which enables man to reach his final, supernatural perfection from within himself, and quench his natural desire. This does not mean for Saint Thomas that the desiderium naturale beatitudinis implies a necessary fulfillment to the point of eliminating the necessity and gratuitousness of grace, nor does it mean that grace belongs to nature as to a reality of the same ontological order. It means, however, that the rational creature, created in the image of God with intelligence and freedom, is capax Dei, and therefore tends naturally – although ineffectively by itself – to the supernatural order.[18] It also means that if grace, in turn, is above human nature because it participates in divine nature, it is in the same way in human nature as a con-nature, which is the human being’s own and inner supernatural principle of being and acting.[19]

Saint Thomas, in his purpose of structuring the creative order with its own entity, establishes an analogy between the natural and the supernatural order. Just as God gives us being by creation through a formal cause, in the same way God gives us gratuitous spiritual being without the mediation of any agent, through a created form that is grace: “God causes natural being (existence) in us by creation without the intervention of any agent cause, but nevertheless with the intervention of a formal cause; for a natural form is the principle of natural being (existence). Similarly God brings about gratuitous spiritual being (existence) in us without the intervention of any agent, yet with the intervention of a created form, grace”.[20]

Just as he was inspired by Dionysus to affirm the created reality of grace as a seed that God plants in the soul, the Angelic Doctor in the same way resorts to Aristotle to found the spiritual operations of love and knowledge in the new being of grace (esse gratiae). Thus he says grace is the life of the soul, because in living things, living is being: “For life in a living being is the same as to live expressed in the abstract; just as running is in reality the same as to run. Now in living things, to live is to be, as the Philosopher declares in 2 De Anima”.[21]

By merging the Aristotelian principle of being given by form, with the Dionysian ille qui non est adeptus divinum esse non potest participare divinas operationes, the Angelic Doctor affirms that grace is a participated form of the divine nature immanent to the human person that gives a spiritual and divine being (esse spirituale et divinum) and founds the spiritual operations of love and knowledge.

Grace, as participation in the divine nature, recreates and regenerates the human being – image of God – with attribution to each person of the Trinity

Grace, as a participation of divinity, is the work of the entire Trinity, and requires the in-habitation (inhabitation) of the Trinity in the soul of the just. But insofar as each Person represents a divine property, the participation of grace in the just, although common to the entire Trinity, is attributed or appropriated (appropriatur) to the Father as its author, to the Son as its Exemplar, and to the Holy Spirit, as the One who imprints on us the likeness with the Son: “adoption, though common to the whole Trinity, is appropriated to the Father as its author; to the Son, as its exemplar; to the Holy Ghost, as imprinting on us the likeness of this exemplar”.[22] Grace is thus a participation of the same divine nature as it is realized in intra-Trinitarian life. For this reason, as natura in natura, it offers a new way of knowing and loving by which we formally know and love, which is participation in the way of knowing and loving as it is given by essence within divine nature. “Grace – Thomas said – as it is prior to virtue, has a subject prior to the powers of the soul, so that it is in the essence of the soul. For as man in his intellective powers participates in Divine knowledge through the virtue of faith, and in his power of will participates in the Divine love through the virtue of charity, so also in the nature of the soul does he participate in the Divine Nature, after the manner of a likeness, through a certain regeneration or re-creation”.[23]

Through the application of the Thomist synthesis to the supernatural order, Saint Thomas manages to overcome both Platonic separatism and Aristotelian immanentism. Indeed, although God maintains his presence in a creature through an efficient, exemplary and final cause, he can never replace the function of an intrinsic formal cause, either in the natural or in the supernatural order.[24] Therefore, in the order of natural creation, although God is the first founding principle of all being, goodness and perfection, nevertheless everything is and is called good by a resemblance to divine being and goodness (inhaerens sibi), which resemblance is formally its being and its goodness: “α) Everything is therefore called good from the divine goodness, as from the first exemplary effective and final principle of all goodness. β) Nevertheless, everything is called good by reason of the similitude of the divine goodness belonging to it, which is formally its own goodness, whereby it is denominated good. And so of all things there is one goodness, and yet many goodnesses”.[25] In the same way, in the supernatural order, it is said that each re- generated human being is, lives, knows and loves through Being, Nature, Life, Knowing and Loving by the essence of the Trinity as an effective, exemplary and final principle. However, each man has a participated intrinsic esse et operati gratiae sibi inhaerens similar to the one and triune divinity, by which he formally is, lives, knows and loves supernatural recreation: “The Divine Essence Itself is charity, even as It is wisdom and goodness. Wherefore just as we are said to be good with the goodness which is God, and wise with the wisdom which is God (since the goodness whereby we are formally good is a participation of Divine goodness, and the wisdom whereby we are formally wise, is a share of Divine wisdom), so too, the charity whereby formally we love our neighbour is a participation of Divine charity. For this manner of speaking is common among the Platonists, with whose doctrines Augustine was imbued; and the lack of adverting to this has been to some an occasion of error”.[26]

This in-habiting of the Trinity in the just is attributed to each person in effectibus gratiae: to the Son is attributed the participation of his own Sonship by essence as well as the communication of the gift of Wisdom; to the Holy Spirit is attributed the participation of Charity by essence; and to the Father is attributed the source of recreation. Thus, the Divine Persons, somewhat sealing our souls, give us the gift of enjoying a foretaste of that perfect possession of the gift of glory in Heaven.[27]

It is said that grace is created, inasmuch as human beings according to it are created, that is, constituted in a new being: “in novo esse constituuntur(S. Th., I-II, q. 110, a. 2 ad 3).

Starting from Saint Peter’s idea of grace as “participation of divine nature” (θείας κοινωνοὶ φύσεως),[28] Saint Thomas finds Saint Paul’s notion of “new creation” (καινὴ κτίσις).[29] Enlightening once more the structure of the supernatural order with an analogy taken from the structure of the natural order, Saint Thomas affirms the necessity of a true creation for the production of the being of grace (esse gratiae) by God, in the likeness of the first creation of the natural being (esse naturae). The Angelic Doctor argues in the following way: creation is a movement from nothing to being, which is double: the natural being and the being of grace. The first creation took place when the creatures were produced from nothing by God in his natural being, and then the creature was new, but because of sin it became old. Consequently, a new creation became necessary, to produce creatures to being in grace, a creation from nothingness, since those who lack grace are nothing.[30] The complete text of Saint Thomas is found in the Commentary to the famous passage of Saint Paul which says ὥστε εἴ τις ἐν Χριστῷ, καινὴ κτίσις: τὰ ἀρχαῖα παρῆλθεν, ἰδιοὺ γέγονεν and affirms: “Then when Paul says, ‘Therefore if then any be in Christ’, he concludes from the foregoing that a certain effect follows, namely, newness in the world. Hence he says, ‘if then any be in Christ’, i.e., in the faith of Christ, or through Christ, he is made ‘a new creature’: ‘for in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love’ (Gal 5:6). Here it should be noted that renewal by grace is called a creature. For creation is a change from nothing into being (existence). But there are two kinds of beings, namely, of nature and of grace. The first creation was made when creatures were produced by God from nothing to natural being (esse naturae); and then the creature was new, but became old by sin: ‘he has made my flesh and my skin waste away’ (Lam 3:4). Therefore, a new creation was required by which we would be produced to being (existing) in grace (in esse gratiae). This, too, is a creation from nothing because those who lack grace are nothing: ‘and if I understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing’ (I Cor 13:2); in his tent, i.e., of sin, ‘dwells that which is none of his’ (Job 18:15). Augustine says: ‘for sin is nothing, and men become nothing, when they sin’. So it is clear that the infusion of grace is a creation”.[31]

As the objects of God’s love men and women become themselves instruments of grace

This is an important milestone for the Angelic Doctor, since it allows him to affirm that the spiritual creatures recreated in the being of grace (in esse gratiae), can act as a particular active principle of the communication of the grace of Christ. Such communication or refusion (refusio) of grace between the just or between the saints clearly does not occur according to the infinite universality proper to the humanity of the Son of God, but only in relation to the particular fullness of their own measure of participation in friendship with God. In the lives of the saints, these ebbs and flows of grace are present between mother and son, teacher and disciple, spiritual guide and penitent, and vice versa, and also between friends and spouses, and in all human relationships that manage to become “bonds of perfection”.[32] Even Saint Thomas maintains that a human being constituted in grace according to his friendship with God, can obtain the salvation of another, unless there is no impediment on the part of the one whose justification the friend of God wishes. “One may merit – Thomas said – the first grace for another congruously; because a man in grace fulfils God’s will, and it is congruous and in harmony with friendship that God should fulfil man’s desire for the salvation of another, although sometimes there may be an impediment on the part of him whose salvation the just man desires”.[33] Finally, and in order to point out the excellence of the “fullness of the grace” of the Blessed Virgin, Saint Thomas introduces, in his late Commentary on Hail Mary, the decisive theme of grace quantum ad refusionem, and thus affirms the causality of Mary in the derivation of all grace towards human beings. But in addition, he also explicitly manifests the particular causality of each saint, that is, a just person or friend of God, in the communication or “refusion” of the esse gratiae to another or other human beings. Indeed, the Angelic Doctor affirms: “It is a great thing in a Saint when he has grace to bring about the salvation of many, but it is exceedingly wonderful when grace is of such abundance as to be sufficient for the salvation of all men in the world, and this is true of Christ and of the Blessed Virgin”.[34] This doctrine of the mutual refusion of grace finds confirmation in one of the most novel and decisive affirmations of the Magisterium of theologian Pope Benedict XVI, such as is offered by the central thesis of his Encyclical Caritas in veritate, which considers social life as an instrument of reciprocal exchange of the grace of Jesus Christ. “As the objects of God’s love, – Benedict XVI said – men and women become subjects of charity, they are called to make themselves instruments of grace, so as to pour forth God’s charity and to weave networks of charity”.[35]

This is how grace allows us to form such a personal, intimate and mutual bond of perfection with God’s friends so that their various merits and graces also give rise to the reciprocal participation of their merits and graces. On the one hand, the merits and graces of the just make their prayers very effective: so they obtain from God the special graces we have asked for; in addition, they not only prevent us from losing our divine Sonship, but they encourage us to continue advancing to the heights of perfection and towards even greater merit. Where our strength does not reach, it is our friends, the saints, who come to help us and, with their prayers, their graces and their charity, make it possible for us to grow in grace and in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, something that we could never achieve on our own.[36]

On the other hand, the saints are members of the same body to which we belong, and they have the same head and the same soul as us. And as the prayers, the graces and the charity of the holy members are beneficial to all others, and just as the whole body ultimately possesses the infinite grace and universal merit of its head, Jesus Christ, so in a way the graces and merits of the saints are, by mutual participation, our merits as well.[37]

Communion of saints

This is the social dimension of grace to which Benedict XVI refers in Caritas in veritate and Francis in Fratelli tutti. It is about the grace that comes to heal and elevate the human being as a “political animal”, and not just as an individual person. Following Aristotle, who maintains that it is not enough for a good politician to love himself, he must also love the good of his city,[38] in the same way the human being, from the moment he is welcomed as a member of a city, that is to say, becomes a citizen, needs social virtues, such as love for the good of his city and for social justice.

In a similar way, when he is welcomed to participate in the heavenly beatitude, which con- sists in seeing and “tasting” God, the human being becomes a citizen and member of the Heavenly Jerusalem, that society blessed by the Lord, in which, Saint Paul tells us, we become “fellow citizens of the saints and relatives of God”.[39] Hence the human being, once he is incorporated into the celestial kingdom through grace, is called to possess not only personal virtues but also social virtues infused by the Holy Spirit in his soul, for which love for the common good of society as a whole, which is a divine good as an object of beatitude, is a prerequisite (praeexigitur).

Now, in the same way that loving the good of a city in order to possess and dominate it does not make a politician a good person – for even a tyrant loves his city and seeks its good, but in order to subdue it for his own benefit – loving the good that is shared with the blessed in order to possess it does not make man good in terms of beatitude, since the wicked also desire such good. Only loving this good in itself, so that it lasts and spills over onto others, and does not act against them, makes someone good with respect to that society of the blessed in which grace makes us participate.[40]

Being inhabitants of the heavenly city while still on Earth as pilgrims, is a fundamental rea- son for the reciprocal “refusion” of grace among God’s friends, which is necessary to heal and elevate human society on Earth to the heavenly city. The grace of the sacrament of matrimony, of which the spouses are ministers, heals and elevates the social cell, but the refusion among all the justified, called to implement the ebb and flow of grace in the society of saints – which includes both those who already enjoy God directly, and the pilgrims who are on the way to Him – is what is destined to heal and elevate the entire social body. It is the Church that in this hour is called to indicate the path of communication of the grace of Christ through those who are his “living stones”.[41] According to St. Thomas, Christ can communicate to others his power of excellence, as indeed he has done to the Church insofar as she has established the sacraments as we know them today. The Saint says: “Christ had a twofold power in the sacraments. One was the power of authority, which belongs to Him as God: and this power He could not communicate to any creature; just as neither could He communicate the Divine Essence. The other was the power of excellence, which belongs to Him as man. This power He could communicate to ministers; namely, by giving them such a fullness of grace – that their merits would conduce to the sacra- mental effect – that by the invocation of their names, the sacraments would be sanctified – and that they themselves might institute sacraments, and by their mere will confer the sacramental effect without observing the sacramental rite. For a united instrument, the more powerful it is, the more able it is to lend its power to the separated instrument; as the hand can to a stick”.[42]

The Beatitudes, the works of mercy, the washing of the feet and the good Samaritan

Pope Francis has proposed the Beatitudes as the program of his pontificate, which are the new and central teachings of Jesus Christ to which all the others refer, just as Moses had proposed the commandments, followed by many other norms that refer to them. Thus, both the “works of mercy” and the attitude of the Good Samaritan are actions that respond to the Beatitudes. Undoubtedly, the behaviour of the Good Samaritan, proposed by Fratelli tutti, is the most complete icon of the novelty of the “Beatitudes”, as is the performance of the Beatitudes in the “works of mercy”. In the words of Fratelli tutti: “This parable eloquently presents the basic decision we need to make in order to rebuild our wounded world. In the face of so much pain and suffering, our only course is to imitate the Good Samaritan”.[43] With this parable, as well as with the gesture of the washing of the feet – much loved by Pope Francis – Jesus Christ has wanted to give us “an example, that you also should do as I have done to you”,[44] knowing that exemplary actions inspire good deeds more than words. He recommended the Beatitudes and the works of mercy, since whoever gives bread to the hungry washes their feet and is a Good Samaritan, the same as those who offer hospitality, dress the naked, visit the sick or those in prison, to those who are operators of peace, thirst for ==justice, and so on. Saint Paul invites us to “contribute to the needs of the saints”.[45] The Lord himself connects the Beatitudes to feet washing as a service to our neighbour, when he concludes this gesture by instructing the Apostles: “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them”.[46]

With the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus Christ answers the question of who is our neighbour that we should love. And this is the last fulfilment of the law and the new commandment, and fittingly enough he ends the fulfilment with love, for “love is the fullness of the law”.[47] Concerning the notion of neighbour it should be considered that for some people neighbours are only household members and relatives, but according to the truth of the words of Christ every human being is our neighbour, including the angels: indeed, Luke says that the one who was shown mercy by the Samaritan is called his neighbour.[48] Hence the person who shows us mercy is our ‘neighbour’, such as the angels and so is the person to whom we owe mercy, such as a victim. This precept was already present in Leviticus.[49]

The Lord chose to use the term ‘neighbour’ to make us understand the new notion of love that he was proposing, which is the essence of fraternity and social friendship. For all friend- ship is based on some likeness or closeness: “Every being loves its own kind”.[50] But there is a certain natural similarity, as all human beings belong to the same species. Hence just as it is natural that every being loves its own kind, it is also natural that every human being loves his kind. Another likeness is political: citizens of the same country must love one another, and this is political friendship. Similarity today is also cosmopolitan, since people should love one another as citizens of the world: and this is cosmopolitan friendship. But there is also the similitude of grace, and this is broader because it extends to all who aspire to the happiness of the Beatitudes, namely, human beings and angels: this is the precept of charity that is based on that union generated by participation in the divine nature of Christ. Therefore, his saying ‘love your neighbour’ is not to be understood as only referring to those who share the same blood, family ties or country, but to all those who aspire to the Beatitudes or happiness.

Importance and topicality of Fratelli tutti’s plea

As Pope Francis constantly teaches us: “Jesus with the Beatitudes gives us the ‘protocol’ with which we will be judged”. As a punctual response to the trending topic of the Covid-19 pandemic which attacks our body, but also to the more subtle and dangerous evil that poisons our soul, Fratelli tutti offers a path to the Beatitudes centred on fraternity and social love founded on the grace of Christ. Thus, against the new colonialism of mainstream thought (pensée unique), individualism, selfishness, violence against the human being and nature, slavery, war and hatred, the Encyclical proposes the healing and uplifting medicine of the love and grace of Christ.

The global response to the Covid-19 pandemic reveals that the fundamental importance of the religious dimension indicated by Fratelli tutti as part of human dignity is eroding.[51] By ignoring the religious dimension of the human person or, worse, setting it aside as non-essential, this transcendent dimension of the person gradually becomes optional instead of being recognized as the basic dimension of the human being. “It should be acknowledged – according to Fratelli tutti – that ‘among the most important causes of the crises of the modern world are a desensitized human conscience, a distancing from religious values and the prevailing individualism accompanied by materialistic philosophies that deify the human person and introduce worldly and material values in place of supreme and transcendental principles’ ”.[52] In a not so distant cultural time, H. Grozio’s expression of living and acting etsi Deus non daretur – as if God did not exist – has been discussed and rightly criticized. But there is a worse danger and that is to live etsi Christus non daretur, as if Christ and his grace and love did not exist. Inspired by the fathers of the Church, Hegel already recognizes that the idea of human dignity and freedom is the fruit of the Message and grace of Christ and of his Holy Spirit: “It was through Christianity that this idea [freedom and human dignity] came into the world. According to Christianity, the individual as such has an infinite value as the object and aim of divine love, destined to live in absolute relationship with God himself as spirit, and have God’s spirit dwelling in him: i.e. man is in himself destined to supreme freedom”.[53] Without God and without Christ, human beings are nothing more than a product of chaos-chance or the evolution of matter without an incorruptible soul, because God is no longer creating and saving human beings and nature but vice versa.

With the grace of Christ and his love, we will already partially enjoy the Beatitudes in this life, which the diligent exercise of individual and social virtues and works of mercy fully promise us for the next life. Grace is nothing other than a beginning of heaven’s glory in us.[54] According to Saint Thomas, this is the reason why the Apostle speaks of the “fruits of the Holy Spirit”, whose sweetness and softness we can already taste in this life, and not of flowers that only ripen at harvest time and whose fruit can only be gathered later.

How then, in a suffering and developed society like ours, can we manifest and invigorate, with the grace of Christ and his love, the essence of social reality as service, as taught by the Magisterium of Pope Francis based on the Beatitudes, the works of mercy, and the good Samaritan? Can the Church that has inherited from Christ the power of excellence find a new way to spread his grace, which is the novelty that the Lord has brought to the world, our highest dignity and anticipation of eternal life? We already rejoice in the hope of knowing that this is possible.



[1] Fratelli Tutti, § 92. Quoting Benedict XVI, Encyclical Letter Deus Caritas Est, 15: AAS 98 (2006), 230.
[2] “amans aestimat amatum quodammodo ut unum sibi” (Saint Thomas Aquinas, S. Th., II-II, q. 27, a. 2 c.).
[3] “magni pretii aestimatur” (Ibid., I-II, q. 26, a. 3 c.).
[4] “ex amore enim quo aliquis alium gratum habet, procedit quod aliquid ei gratis impendat” (Ibid., I-II, q. 110, a. 1 c.).
[5] Fratelli Tutti, § 93.
[6] Fratelli Tutti, § 214, note 203.
[7] “Alios actus atque motus virtutum operatur caritas, id est Spiritus sanctus, mediantibus virtutibus, quarum actus sunt, utpote actum fidei, id est credere fide media, et actum spei, id est sperare media spe; per fidem enim et spem praedictos operatur actus. Diligendi vero actum per se tantum sine alicuius virtutis medio operatur, id est diligere; aliter ergo hunc actum operatur quam alios virtutum actus. Ideoque differenter de hoc et de aliis loquitur Scriptura, quae istum specialiter caritati tribuit; est ergo caritas vere Spiritus sanctus” (P. Lombardo, I Sent., d. 17, c. 6, PP. Collegii S. Bonaventurae, Ad Claras Aquas [Quaracchi], Fiorenza, 1971, t. I, p. 151 ff.).
[8] Unde oportet quod ex hoc ipso quod Spiritus sanctus alicui datur, aliquid ipsi creaturae accrescat quod prius non habebat, secundum cujus adeptionem Spiritum sanctum habere dicitur. Unde gratia qualitercumque significetur, ostendit aliquid creatum in anima esse, quod gratis datur, quamvis etiam nomine gratiae aliquid increatum significari possit; ut vel ipsa divina acceptatio vel etiam datum increatum quod est Spiritus sanctus” (In II Sent., d. 26, q. 1, a. 1 c., Mand. II, p. 669).
[9] Αὐτὸς γὰρ ὁ ἀγαθοεργὸς τῶν ὄντων ἔρως, ἐν τάγαθῷ καθ’ ὑπερβολὴν προῦπάρχων, οὐκ εἴασεν αὐτὸν ἄγονον ἐν ἐαυτῷ μένειν, ἐκίνησε δὲ αὐτὸν εἰς τὸ πρακτικεύεσθαι κατὰ τὴν ἀπάντων γενητικὴν ὑπερβολὴν (Pseudo- Dionisio Areopagita, De Div. Nom., IV, § 10; M. G., III, 708 B).
[10] “Amor autem divinus bonitatem rebus profundit; unde Dionysius dicit, IV ch. De Div Nom., Col. 694, t. I, quod divinus amor non permisit eum sine germine esse; unde per hoc [quod] Deus dicitur aliquem diligere, significatur effectus divinae dilectionis in dilecto esse” (In II Sent., d. 26, q. 1, a. 1 c., Mand. II, p. 668 f.).
[11] “Sed illa est simpliciter et perfecta dilectio, quasi amicitiae similis, qua non tantum diligit creaturam sicut artifex opus, sed etiam quadam amicabili societate, sicut amicus amicum, inquantum trahit eos in societatem suae fruitionis, ut in hoc eorum sit gloria et beatitudo quo Deus beatus est: et haec est dilectio qua sanctos diligit, quae antonomastice dilectio dicitur; et ideo etiam effectus hujusmodi dilectionis antonomastice gratia vocatur: quamvis et omnes naturales bonitates gratiae dici possunt, quia gratis a Deo dantur” (In II Sent., d. 26, q. 1, a. 1 ad 2, Mand. II, p. 669). When referring to this simple and perfect love he also says: “In quantum Deus vult ei aliquo bonum supernaturale” (De Verit., q. 27, a. 1 c., ed. Leon., t. XXIII, 3, p. 791, l. 132); “Sed specialis ratio divinae dilectionis ad illos consideratur quibus auxilium praebet ad hoc quod consequantur bonum quod ordinem naturae eorum excedit, scilicet perfectam fruitionem non alicuius boni creati, sed sui ipsius” (Cg., III, 150, ed. cit., t. III, p. 225 a, n° 3226); “Vnde eos maxime et simpliciter diligere dicitur, quibus tales bonitatis effectus largitur per quos ad ultimum finem preueniant, quod est ipse qui est fons bonitatis” (Comp. Theol., I, c. 143, ed. Leon., t. XLII, p. 136, l. 62 - 65). As I will say, inspired by the Fathers, Hegel knows how to give a modern interpretation to this idea that has come into the world through Christianity, for which the person has infinite value because he is the object and purpose of God’s love. By the in-habitation of the Spirit, the human being is destined for maximum freedom. Cfr. Enzikl. d. philos. Wiss., § 482.
[12] “Alia autem est dilectio specialis, secundum quam trahit creaturam rationalem supra conditionem naturae, ad participationem divini boni. Et secundum hanc dilectionem dicitur aliquem diligere simpliciter: quia secundum hanc dilectionem vult Deus simpliciter creaturae bonum aeternum, quod est ipse” (S. Th., I-II, q. 110, a. 1 c.).
[13] “Et ideo dicit Dionysius, in II ch. Caelest. Hier., Quia sicut in rebus naturalibus est quod illud quod non habet speciem per generationem adeptam non potest habere operationses speciei debitas, ita ille qui est adeptus divinum esse per spiritualem regenerationem non potest participare divinas operationses” (In II Sent., d. 26, q. 1, a. 3, Mand. II, p. 674). The text that St. Thomas quoted is substantially: ῍Η οὐχὶ καὶ ἡμῖν, ἀνθρωπίνως φαμὲν, ὑπάρξαι δεῖ πρῶτον, εἶτα ἐνεργῆσαι τὰ καθ’ ἡμᾶς, ὡς τοῦ μηδαμῶς ὄντος, οὐδὲ κίνησιν, ἀλλ’ οὐδὲ ὕπαρξιν ἔχοντος · τοῦ δέ πως ὄντος, ἐκεῖνα μόνον ὲνεργοῦντος ἢ πάσχοντος ἐν οἷς εἶναι πέφυκεν; (Pseudo-Dionisio Areopagita, De Ecclesiasticae Hierarchiae, c. 2, synopsis cap.; M. G., III, 392 B; Dionysiaca, II, 1108).
[14] “Patet per Dionysium in II ch. Ecclesiasticae hierarchiae, ubi dicit quod non potest aliquis habere spiritualem operationem nisi prius esse spirituale accipiat, sicut nec operationem alicuius naturae nisi prius habeat esse in natura illa” (De Veritate, q. 27, a. 2 c., ed. Leon., t. XXII, 3, p. 794, l. 149 - 154.
[15] “Unumquodque ordinatur in finem sibi convenientem secundum rationem suae formae [...]. Ergo oportet quod homini superaddatur aliqua supernaturalis forma et perfectio, per quam convenienter ordinetur in finem praedictum” (Cg., III, 150, ed. P. Marc, Marietti, Taurini, 1961, t. III, p. 225, no 3229).
[16] “Diuina prouidentia rebus singulis secundum earum modum prouidet, creatura autem rationalis per liberum arbitrium est domina sui actus pre ceteris creaturis [...]. Quia uero ultimus finis creature rationalis facultatem nature ipsius excedit, ea uero que sunt ad finem debent esse fini proportionata secundum rectum prouidentie ordinem, consequens est ut creature rationali etiam adiutoria diuinitus conferantur, non solum que sunt proportionata nature, sed etiam que facultatem nature excedunt. Vnde supra naturalem facultatem rationis imponitur diuinitus homini lumen gratie, per quod interius perficitur ad uirtutes: et quantum ad cognitionem, dum eleuatur mens hominis per lumen huiusmodi ad cognoscendum ea quae rationem excedunt, et quantum ad actionem et affectionem, dum per lumen huiusmodi affectus hominis supra omnia creata eleuatur ad Deum diligendum et sperandum in ipso, et ad agendum ea que talis amor requirit” (Comp. Theol., I, c. 143, ed. Leon., t. XLII, p. 136, l. 1 - 4, 34 - 49). Saint Thomas attributes the principle of Providence to Dionysus: “sicut Dionysius dicit, divina sapientia ita omnia ordinat ut unicuique provideat secundum modum suae conditionis” (In Ioan. Ev., c. III, v. 5, lect. 1, 4, ed. cit., n° 443). Dionysus says: ʹὈθεν ὡς Πρόνοια τῆς ἑκάστου φύσεως σωστικὴ, τῶν αὐτοκινὴτων ὡς αὐτοκινήτων προνοεῖ, καὶ τῶν ὅλων καὶ τῶν καθ’ ἔκαστον οἰκείως ὄλῳ καἰ ἑκάστὦι, καθ’ ὂσον ἡ τῶν προνοουμένων φύσις ἐπιδέχεται τὰς τῆς ὅλης καὶ παντοδαπῆς, προνοίας ἐκδιδομένας ἀναλόγως ἑκάστῳ προνοητικὰς ἀγαθὸτητας (De Div. Nom., c. IV, § 33; M. G., III, 733 C). Cfr. also, Epistola IX, § 3; P. G. III, 1110.
[17] “In rebus enim naturalibus videmus quod quaelibet res naturalis naturaliter tendit ad suam perfectionem, ad quam habet naturale desiderium. Et ideo cuilibet rei datur virtus naturalis, ut ad suam perfectionem naturalem possit pervenire. Gratia autem datur homini a Deo, per quam homo perveniat ad suam ultimam et perfectam con- summationem, id est beatitudinem, ad quam habet naturale desiderium” (In Ep. II ad Cor., c. XIII, v. 9, lect. 2, ed. R. Cai, Marietti, Taurini - Romae, 1953, t. I, p. 559 a, n° 534).
[18] “Naturaliter anima est gratiae capax; ‘eo enim ipso quod facta est ad imaginem Dei, capax est Dei per gratiam’, ut dicit Augustinus” (S. Th., I-II, q. 113, a. 10 c.); “Est enim creatura rationalis capax illius beatae cognitionis inquantum est ad imaginem Dei” (Ibid., III, q. 9, a. 2 c.). Cfr. In II Sent., d. 16, exp. textus, Mand. II, p. 406.
[19] “Sicut autem lumen a sole diffunditur in aerem, ita gratia a Deo infunditur anime; que quidem est supra naturam anime, et tamen in natura anime uel cuiuscumque creature rationalis est aptitudo quedam ad gratie susceptionem” (De Malo, q. 2, a. 11 c., ed. Leon., t. XXIII, p. 60, l. 173 - 176; Ibidem, ed. Pession, Marietti, Taurini - Romae, 1965, Q. D. II, p. 490 b).
[20] “Esse naturale per creationem Deus causat in nobis nulla causa agente mediante, sed tamen mediante aliqua causa formali; forma enim naturalis principium est esse naturalis. Et similiter esse spirituale gratuitum Deus facit in nobis nullo agente mediante, sed tamen mediante aliqua forma creata, quae est gratia” (De Veritate, q. 27, a. 1 ad 3, ed. Leon., t. XXII, 3, p. 791, l. 182 - 189).
[21] “Vita enim viventis est ipsum vivere in quadam abstractione significatum: sicut cursus non est secundum rem aliud quam currere. ‘Vivere autem viventium est ipsum esse eorum’, ut patet per Philosophum, in II de Anima” (Summa Contra Gentiles, I, c. 96, ed. P. Marc, Marietti, Taurini - Romae, 1961, t. II, p. 109 b, n° 817).
[22] “Adoptatio, licet sit communis toti Trinitati, appropriatur tamen Patri ut auctori, Filio ut exemplari, Spiritui Sancto ut imprimenti in nobis huius similitudinem exemplaris” (S. Th., III, q. 23, a. 2 ad 3).
[23] “Gratia, sicut est prius virtute, ita habeat subiectum prius potentiis animae, ita scilicet quod sit in essentia animae. Sicut enim per potentiam intellectivam homo participat cognitionem divinam per virtutem fidei; et se- cundum potentiam voluntatis amorem divinum, per virtutem caritatis; ita etiam per naturam animae participat, secundum quandam similitudinem, naturam divinam, per quandam regenerationem sive recreationem” (S. Th., I-II, q. 110, a. 4 c).
[24] Cfr. De Veritate, q. 27, a. 1 ad 3, ed. Leon., t. XXII, 3, p. 791, l. 182 - 189.
[25] S. Th., I, q. 6, a. 4. Cfr. In I Sent., d. 49, q. 5, a. 2 ad 3; De Verit., q. 1, a. 5.
[26] “Ipsa essentia divina caritas est, sicut et sapientia est, et sicut bonitas est. α) Unde sicut dicimur boni bonitate quae Deus est [sicut principio exemplari, effectivo et finali], et sapientes sapientia quae Deus est [sicut principio exemplari, effectivo et finali], β) quia bonitas qua formaliter boni sumus est participatio quaedam divi- nae bonitatis, et sapientia qua formaliter sapientes sumus est participatio quaedam divinae sapientiae; ita etiam caritas qua formaliter diligimus proximum est quaedam participatio divinae caritatis. Hic enim modus loquendi consuetus est apud Platonicos, quorum doctrinis Augustinus fuit imbutus. Quod quidam non advertentes ex verbis eius sumpserunt occasionem errandi” (S. Th., II-II, q. 23, a. 2 ad 1). It should be noted that Saint Thomas indirectly advises, by warning against Platonic extrincesism, that he has given new content to the notion of participation, namely: the immanence of the Aristotelian form: “qua formaliter boni sumus, ... formaliter sapientes sumus, ... formaliter diligimus proximum est quaedam participatio divinae ...”.
[27] “Persona autem divina non potest haberi a nobis nisi vel ad fructum perfectum, et sic habetur per donum gloriae; aut secundum fructum imperfectum, et sic habetur per donum gratiae gratum facientis; vel potius sicut id per quod fruibili conjungimur, inquantum ipsae personae divinae quadam sui sigillatione in animabus nostris relinquunt quaedam dona quibus formaliter fruimur, scilicet amore et sapientia; propter quod Spiritus Sanctus dicitur esse ‘pignus haereditatis nostrae’” (In I Sent., d. 14, q. 2, a. 2 ad 2, Mand. I, p. 326).
[28] II Pt., c. I, v. 4.
[29] II Cor., c. V, v. 17.
[30] For an in-depth study, cfr. Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, La gracia como participación de la naturaleza divina, PASS, Studia Selecta 5, LEV, Vatican City, 2021 (Forthcoming).
[31] In Ep. II ad Cor., c. V, v. 17, lect. 4, ed. R. Cai, Marietti, Taurini - Romae, 1953, t. I, p. 483 b, n° 192. Thomistic exegesis, being deeper than the modern one due to its character of resolution in the theological- metaphysical basis, coincides with it. According to B. Rey the καινὴ κτίσις of Saint Paul, which would be inspired by Isaiah in a particular way LXV, 17 (ב׳ הננ׳ ברךא שמ׳ם תךש׳ם ראךץ חךשה) “apparait comme l’accomplissement et la reprise de la première création, ou mieux: elle est la manifestation la plus éclatante de l’activité créatrice de Dieu qui ne cesse de faire du nouveau dans l’histoire depuis ses origines” (B. Rey, Créés dans le Christ Jesus, Paris, 1966, p. 39). Furthermore, in the aforementioned text the verb is bara’ (בךא) “que la Bible réserve exclusivement à Dieu. L’hébreu bara’ signifie proprement faire voir du neuf, de l’inédit, ce qui est le propre de Dieu (cfr. Nb. 16, 30: ‘faire quelque chose d’inouï’ – Bible de Jerusalem; ‘opérer un miracle’ – Dhorme); d’où la liaison essentielle avec la notion de nouvelle alliance, celle de ‘cœur nouveau’, et les antithèses ‘choses anciennes, choses nouvelles’, ‘premier, dernier’. Les emplois bibliques du verbe bara’ se rattachent ainsi autant à des faits de l’histoire qu’à la production de l’univers aux origines. Dieu a créé le salut, il a créé le peuple, et son action créatrice est sans cesse à l’œuvre dans le monde (Is. 41, 20; 43, 7; 48, 7; etc.). Cette action se caractérise par la nouveauté: Dieu crée parce qu’il agit de façon originale; quand il intervient il change la face des choses (Jr. 31, 22; Is. 48, 7; 65, 17; Ps. 51, 12; 104, 30). Dans la religion d’Israël, la notion de création est donc sotériologique, non seulement quand il est question de la création des derniers temps, la nouvelle création, mais aussi en ce qui concerne la création du commencement, comme le montre par exemple le rôle que joue le récit de Gn. 1 dans l’ensemble de la tradition sacerdotale ou l’adjonction du thème de la bénédiction à celui de la création en Gn. 1, 22, 28; 2, 3: la création est pleine d’espérance” (Ibidem, p. 39 and 40, n° 27).
[32] Col., III, 14.
[33] “Merito congrui potest aliquis alteri mereri primam gratiam. Quia enim homo in gratia constitutus implet Dei voluntatem, congruum est, secundum amicitiae proportionem, ut Deus impleat hominis voluntatem in salva- tione alterius, licet quandoque possit habere impedimentum ex parte illius cuius aliquis sanctus iustificationem desiderat” (S. Th., I-II, q. 114, a. 6 c.).
[34] “Magnum enim est in quolibet sancto, quando habet tantum de gratia quod sufficit ad salutem multorum; sed quando haberet tantum quod sufficeret ad salutem omnium hominum de mundo, hoc esset maximum: et hoc est in Christo, et in Beata Virgine” (In salutationem Angelicam expositio, ed. R. Spiazzi, Marietti, Taurini - Romae, 1954, O. T. II, p. 240 b, n° 1118). Cfr. In Ep. ad Hebr., c. XII, v. 23, lect. 4, ed. cit., t. II, p. 491 b, n° 708; In Ep. ad Rom., c. VIII, v. 23, lect. 5, ed. cit., p. 122, n° 678; S. Th., III, q. 27, a. 5 ad 1. There is no shortage of theologians who argue the possibility that a pure human being – specifically the Virgin Mary – like Our Lord, can obtain grace for others (including the first grace of conversion and the last grace of salvation) through condign merit. They base this on what Saint Thomas says in the Summa Theologiae (III, q. 64, a. 4): Christ can communicate to others his power of excellence.
[35] Caritas in veritate, § 5.
[36] Cfr. S. Th., II-II, q. 83, a. 4.
[37] I Cor., XII, 12 ff.
[38] ἅμα δὲ οὐδὲ χρὴ νομίζειν αὐτὸν αὑτοῦ τινα εἶναι τῶν πολιτῶν, ἀλλὰ πάντας τῆς πόλεως, μόριον γὰρ ἕκαστος τῆς πόλεως: ἡ δ ̓ ἐπιμέλεια πέφυκεν ἑκάστου μορίου βλέπειν πρὸς τὴν τοῦ ὅλου ἐπιμέλειαν (Aristotle, Polit., VIII [Θ], 1, 1337 a 28-30, ed. Ross, Oxford, 1957).
[39] “So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God” (Eph., II, 19).
[40] “Philosophus dicit in VIII Polit. (cap. 1, 1337 a 28 ff.), quod ad hoc quod aliquis sit bonus politicus, requiritur quod amet bonum civitatis. Si autem homo, in quantum admittitur ad participandum bonum alicuius civitatis, et effi- citur civis illius civitatis; competunt ei virtutes quaedam ad operandum ea quae sunt civium, et ad amandum bonum civitatis; ita cum homo per divinam gratiam admittatur in participationem caelestis beatitudinis, quae in visione et fruitione Dei consistit, fit quasi civis et socius illius beatae societatis, quae vocatur caelestis Ierusalem secundum il- lud, Ephes. II, 19: estis cives sanctorum et domestici Dei. Unde homini sic ad caelestia adscripto competunt quaedam virtutes gratuitae, quae sunt virtutes infusae; ad quarum debitam operationem praeexigitur amor boni communis toti societati, quod est bonum divinum, prout est beatitudinis obiectum. Amare autem bonum alicuius civitatis contingit dupliciter: uno modo ut habeatur; alio modo ut conservetur. Amare autem bonum alicuius civitatis ut habeatur et possideatur, non facit bonum politicum; quia sic etiam aliquis tyrannus amat bonum alicuius civitatis ut ei dominetur: quod est amare seipsum magis quam civitatem; sibi enim ipsi hoc bonum concupiscit, non civitati. Sed amare bonum civitatis ut conservetur et defendatur, hoc est vere amare civitatem; quod bonum politicum facit: in tantum quod aliqui propter bonum civitatis conservandum vel ampliandum, se periculis mortis exponant et negligant privatum bonum. Sic igitur amare bonum quod a beatis participatur ut habeatur vel possideatur, non facit hominem bene se habentem ad beatitudinem, quia etiam mali illud bonum concupiscunt; sed amare illud bonum secundum se, ut permaneat et diffundatur, et ut nihil contra illud bonum agatur, hoc facit hominem bene se habentem ad illam societatem beatorum” (De Caritate, q. un., a. 2 c., ed. cit., Q. D. II, p. 758 f.). Cfr. also, De Virtutibus in Communi, q. un., a. 9.
[41] λίθοι ζῶντες (I Peter, II:5).
[42] “Christus in sacramentis habuit duplicem potestatem. Unam auctoritatis, quae competit ei secundum quod Deus. Et talis potestas nulli creaturae potuit communicari, sicut nec divina essentia. Aliam potestatem habuit excellentiae, quae competit ei secundum quod homo. Et talem potestatem potuit ministris communicare, dando scilicet eis tantam gratiae plenitudinem ut eorum meritum operaretur ad sacramentorum effectus; ut ad invocatio- nem nominum ipsorum sanctificarentur sacramenta; et ut ipsi possent sacramenta instituere; et sine ritu sacramen- torum effectum conferre solo imperio. Potest enim instrumentum coniunctum, quanto fuerit fortius, tanto magis virtutem suam instrumento separato tribuere, sicut manus baculo” (S. Th., III, q. 64, a. 4 c.).
[43] Fratelli Tutti, § 67.
[44] ὑπόδειγμα γὰρ ἔδωκα ὑμῖν ἵνα καθὼς ἐγὼ ἐποίησα ὑμῖν καὶ ὑμεῖς ποιῆτε (John, XIII:15).
[45] ταῖς χρείαις τῶν ἁγίων κοινωνοῦντες (Rom., XII:13).
[46] εἰ ταῦτα οἴδατε, μακάριοί ἐστε ἐὰν ποιῆτε αὐτά (John, XIII:17).
[47] πλήρωμα οὖν νόμου ἡ ἀγάπη (Rom., XIII:10).
[48] Cfr. Luke, X:36–37.
[49] Lev. XIX:18.
[50] Sir. XIII:19.
[51] Cfr. Paul Richard Gallagher, Video message at the 46th session of the Human Rights Council, L’Osservatore romano, 24 February 2021, p. 6.
[52] Fratelli Tutti, § 275. Quoting Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together, Abu Dhabi, 4 February 2019, L’Osservatore Romano, 4-5 February 2019, p. 6.
[53] “Diese Idee ist durch das Christentum in die Welt gekommen, nach welchem das Individuum als solches einen unendlichen Wert hat, indem es Gegenstand und Zweck der Liebe Gottes, dazu bestimmt ist, zu Gott als Geist sein absolutes Verhältnis, diesen Geist in sich wohnen zu haben, d.i. daß der Mensch an sich zur höchsten Freiheit bestimmt ist” (Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Werke, Band 10, Frankfurt a. M., 1979, p. 300 ff.)
[54] S. Th., II-II, q. 24, a. 3 ad 2. Also: “Gratia Spiritus Sancti quam in praesente habemus, etsi non sit aequalis gloriae in actu, est tamen aequalis in virtute: sicut et semen arborum, in quo est virtus ad totam arborem. Et similiter per gratiam inhabitat hominem Spiritus Sanctus, qui est sufficiens causa vitae aeternae: unde et dicitur esse ‘pignus hereditatis nostrae’ II Cor. I, 22 [Cfr. Ephes., I, 14]” (S. Th., I-II, q. 114, a. 3 ad 3). In addition: “gloria, quae nihil est aliud, quam gratia consummata” (S. Th., I, q. 95, a. 1 arg. 6).


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