The Manila Cathedral launches an exhibit, titled “The Pope in the Philippines,” showcasing the memorabilia of Papal visits in the Philippines on Thursday, June 29. The exhibit was on display until July 2 at the Cathedral’s Blessed Souls Chapel. (Photo by Kenneth Cedric M. Landazabal/ The Varsitarian)

APOSTOLIC Nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Charles Brown urged Catholics to draw wisdom from the encyclicals penned by popes as they deal with social issues, as the Church commemorated Pope’s Day on June 29.

In his homily during the Pope’s Day Mass at the Manila Cathedral, Brown said that since the publication of Rerum Novarum in 1891, popes have been actively addressing a wide range of social issues.

Rerum Novarum, which translates to “Of New Things,” is an encyclical written by Pope Leo XIII that is considered one of the foundational texts of Catholic social teaching. It addresses the social and economic issues arising from the industrial revolution and advocates for the rights of workers and the importance of social justice.

“This prophetic document…came from the conviction that the Gospel message may not be relegated only to a part of man or a part of society; rather, it speaks to all of man to make him ever more human. [It] began a long series of interventions of the popes on various social issues, a series which has continued in our time by Pope Francis, with his encyclical letters,” Brown said.

Brown specifically referred to the two most recent encyclicals by Pope Francis, Fratelli Tutti and Laudato Si.

Fratelli Tutti (All Brothers) calls for renewed commitment to universal fraternity and emphasizes the need for a more just and compassionate society.

Published in 2020, it explores themes such as universal human dignity, the responsibility to care for the marginalized and vulnerable, the importance of dialogue and encounter, and the need to address social and economic inequalities for a more inclusive and interconnected society.

“Pope Francis writes in Fratelli Tutti that if we want true integral human development for all, we must work tirelessly to avoid war between nations and peoples. To this end, the pope writes, there is a need to ensure the uncontested rule of law and tireless recourse to negotiation, mediation, and arbitration as proposed by the charter of the United Nations, which, the pope says, constitutes truly a fundamental juridical norm,” he said.

Citing Laudato Si, Brown urged Catholics to give priority to safeguarding the environment, emphasizing that it would be unjust to future generations if they inherited an environment irreversibly harmed and deteriorated by pollution.

The encyclical, whose title translates to “Praise be to You,” addresses the ecological crisis and its impact on both the natural world and human communities.

It also explores the connections between environmental issues and other societal challenges, such as poverty, inequality, and consumerism, and invites individuals, communities, and policymakers to take action and adopt sustainable lifestyles, promote renewable energy sources, and work toward ecological conversion and global solidarity.

An exhibition showcasing memorabilia from the past visits of pontiffs to the Philippines was opened at the Manila Cathedral’s Blessed Souls Chapel. 

The exhibition, which featured items such as Pope Paul VI’s robe, the photo archives of Pope John Paul II, and a Popemobile previously used by Pope Francis, was on display until July 2. N.A.M. Rodriguez


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