Fratelli tutti

In the second sub-section to Chapter Four, ‘Reciprocal Gifts’ (nn. 133 to 141) the Pope looks at how different cultures coming into contact with each other can be a positive thing and not negative as is often seen by people. He also speaks about how East and West can learn from each other (n. 136): ‘The West can discover in the East remedies for those spiritual and religious maladies that are caused by a prevailing materialism. And the East can find in the West many elements that can help free it from weakness, division, conflict and scientific, technical and cultural decline. It is important to pay attention to religious, cultural and historical differences that are a vital component in shaping the character, culture and civilization of the East. It is likewise important to reinforce the bond of fundamental human rights in order to help ensure a dignified life for all the men and women of East and West, avoiding the politics of double standards.’ From there he goes on to speak about the importance of —— and respect for different cultures within globalisation.

Globalisation cannot just mean a commercial connection between all peoples of the world but should be a globalisation where “There is always the factor of “gratuitousness”: the ability to do some things simply because they are good in themselves, without concern for personal gain or recompense. Gratuitousness makes it possible for us to welcome the stranger, even though this brings us no immediate tangible benefit. Some countries, though, presume to accept only scientists or investors. Life without fraternal gratuitousness becomes a form of frenetic commerce, in which we are constantly weighing up what we give and what we get back in return. God, on the other hand, gives freely, to the point of helping even those who are unfaithful; he “makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good” (Mt 5:45). There is a reason why Jesus told us: “When you give alms, do not let your right hand know what your left hand is doing, so that your alms may be in secret” (Mt 6:3-4). (from nn.139-140)