Fratelli tutti

The first sub-section of chapter five is ‘Popularism and Liberalism’. Pope Francis acknowledges that there are good leaders who are ‘popular’: ‘ “Popular” leaders, those capable of interpreting the feelings and cultural dynamics of a people, and significant trends in society, do exist. The service they provide by their efforts to unite and lead can become the basis of an enduring vision of transformation and growth that would also include making room for others in the pursuit of the common good.’ (n.159) But he points out the dangers of falling into populism and sees it interlinked with misinterpretations of the word ‘people’. In n.160 he says: “Closed populist groups distort the word “people”, since they are not talking about a true people. The concept of “people” is in fact open-ended. A living and dynamic people, a people with a future, is one constantly open to a new synthesis through its ability to welcome differences. In this way, it does not deny its proper identity, but is open to being mobilized, challenged, broadened and enriched by others, and thus to further growth and development.”