October 13, 2022

Georgetown’s Representative in Rome Releases Book on Pope Francis’ Encyclical Fratelli Tutti

Debora Tonelli, Georgetown University representative in Rome and lecturer at Gregorian University and Pontifical Atheneum S. Anselmo, recently released a new book in Italian titled Fratelli tutti? Credenti e non credenti in dialogo con Papa Francesco.

Cover of "Fratelli tutti? Credenti e non credenti in dialogo con Papa Francesco" in Italian
Cover of "Fratelli tutti? Credenti e non credenti in dialogo con Papa Francesco" in Italian

Published by Castelvecchi in September 2022, the book features reflections from nine intellectuals—Domenico Bilotti, Antonio Cecere, Giovanni Luchetti, Gianfranco Macrì, Paolo Quintili, Mario Reale, Antonio Spadaro, S.J., Debora Tonelli, and Gianni Vattimo—on the global issues discussed in Pope Francis’ October 2020 encyclical, Fratelli Tutti.

Addressing Global Challenges Together

In Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis invites readers to reflect on urgent issues of our time, such as racism, war, interreligious dialogue, and the COVID-19 pandemic, and expresses the need for human fraternity and solidarity in our modern world.

“Rationality needs to be enriched with imagination and empathy, which makes us share in the depth of the other's feelings, especially with respect to the non-negotiable elements that make our differences complex.” – Debora Tonelli

Tonelli’s book is a response to the heartfelt appeal of Pope Francis to reflect on not only on fundamental problems of humanity, but also the methods by which we should face them, most importantly knowing how to recognize one another as brothers and sisters.

Pope Francis interacting with a crowd in Brazil
Pope Francis interacting with a crowd in Brazil

Valuing Our Differences

In Fratelli tutti? Credenti e non credenti in dialogo con Papa Francesco, scholars discuss the question of brotherhood, its historical precedents, and political and legal implications, as well as the epochal background on which they stand out. These reflections, whether broad or focused on one issue, represent viewpoints based on respect and active listening—two practices central to the ethos of Fratelli Tutti.

“Dialogue is not just a tool for conveying ideas, but the place where the paradoxes of the existing do not give rise to polarizations, and allow us to become aware of its pluralism.” – Debora Tonelli

Tonelli’s new book also addresses the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together, known as the “Abu Dhabi document.” Signed by Pope Francis and Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, the grand imam of Al-Azhar, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, in February 2019, the joint statement stresses the importance of dialogue and mutual cooperation in the context of interfaith relations.

Supporting Global Collaboration

As the Georgetown University representative in Rome, Tonelli supports academic collaborations and coordinates outreach to the Vatican and other institutions based in Rome and Italy. Her research and teaching address the interaction between politics and religion, particularly in the context of interreligious dialogue and religious violence.