Respond to Conflict "with the sign of fraternity": Pope Francis

Pope Francis releases a dove after praying for the victims of war in Mosul, Iraq, March 7, 2021. Photo credits: Vatican Media. null

Pope Francis on Friday encouraged people of all religious faiths to combat the world’s darkness and conflict with signs of fraternity.

“Let us counter the many threatening signs, times of darkness, and mindsets of conflict with the sign of fraternity that, in accepting others and respecting their identity, invites them to a shared journey,” the pope said on Feb. 4.

The pope’s video message was sent to mark the third anniversary of the “Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together,” which Francis signed with Ahmed el-Tayeb, Grand Imam of al-Azhar, during an interreligious meeting in Abu Dhabi on Feb. 4, 2019.

In 2020, the United Nations established the International Day of Human Fraternity, to be observed annually on Feb. 4.

U.S. President Joe Biden marked the day with a letter urging open-mindedness, cooperation, empathy, dialogue, and tolerance in response to today’s challenges.


“In my own life, faith has always been a beacon of hope and a calling to purpose even during the darkest of days,” Biden wrote.

“Sacred teachings across faith traditions command that we love one another, serve and protect the most vulnerable, and uphold the dignity of every person, which is what the International Day of Human Fraternity is all about.”

Pope Francis said: “Fraternity is one of the fundamental and universal values that ought to undergird relationships between peoples, so that the suffering or disadvantaged do not feel excluded and forgotten, but accepted and supported as part of the one human family.”

“We all live under the same heaven and, in the name of God, we who are his creatures must acknowledge that we are brothers and sisters. As believers from different religious traditions, we have a role to play,” he said.

“What is that role? To help our brothers and sisters raise their eyes and their prayers to heaven.”

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He added: “Let us raise our eyes to heaven, because whoever worships God with a sincere heart also loves his or her neighbor. Fraternity makes us open to the Father of all and enables us to see others as our brothers or sisters, to share life, to support one another, and to love and come to know others.”

Hannah Brockhaus is Catholic News Agency's senior Rome correspondent. She grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, and has a degree in English from Truman State University in Missouri.