Last Saturday, the eight years of Pope Francis' pontificate were celebrated. On this occasion, the Faculty of Theology and Religious Sciences of the Institut Catholique de Paris is offering a video-conference accessible to all, tomorrow, Tuesday at 6:00 p.m., to help understand the changes in the place of the Church in the world, a world that is changing so strongly that we speak of a change of world, as Pope Francis himself evokes.
What makes Pope Francis' message so universal and popular?
One of the reasons is that he is a witness to this change. He risks his word and engages in the field, a word and engagement in unity, an inspired and inspiring engagement, driven by faith and love.
We saw this during his last trip to Iraq, from March 5 to 8
It was an exceptional visit to sow in this land that has been martyred for so many years, "three seeds likely to propel Iraq towards its future: respect, unity and hope" (Mgr Gollnisch). Bruised and humiliated for forty years, the Iraqis were able to hear the voice of the Pope telling them: "You deserve to be respected". He also defended unity in a country riven by divisions. He himself made a very significant gesture when he met with Ayatollah Ali al Sistani, one of the great figures of Muslim Shi'ism: "He was so respectful during our meeting, I felt honored," said the Pope, praising "a wise and prudent person [...]" before saying, like a cry from the heart, "This meeting was good for my soul good" (La Croix, March 9, 2021).
This meeting is not without recalling that of February 4, 2019 with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar. The meeting with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar has marked it, it is prophetic. It returns as a leitmotif throughout Fratelli tutti (§5, §29, §136, §192, §285). The Pope writes: "Religious plurality is a call, in the midst of multiplicity and difference, to "enter together, as one family, into an ark that can sail the stormy seas of the world: the ark of fraternity" "in order to contribute to the creation of new generations that bring good and peace and defend everywhere the right of the oppressed and the last". This message in word and in deed is the bearer of a great faith. In Fratelli Tutti, whose title takes up the very words of St. Francis of Assisi, the meeting with Imam Al-Tayeb punctuates the hope of fraternity driven by the encyclical All Brothers, echoing "Everything is linked", already emphasized in Laudato Si' on integral ecology (2015) "act 1 of a call for a new civilization" had then written Edgar Morin.
These are some of the major themes that will be developed more broadly tomorrow evening, according to ten prospective views on eight years of pontificate.