· Vatican City ·


A second, free-thinking voice for "Fratelli tutti"

04 September 2021

The volume, Discanto, written by Maria Cristina Bartolomei , Emanuela Buccioni, Gabriella Caramore, Antonella Casiraghi, Asmae Dachan, Carla Danani, Rosanna Fersini, Marisa Forcina, Shulamit Furstenberg Levi, Silvia Giacomoni, Lidia Maggi, Luciana Miriam Mele, Lilia Sebastiani, Grazia Villa, Rosanna Virgili, and published by the Paulines. Here follows the presentation of the volume by Bartolomei and Virgili, who are the book’s editors too.

The volume includes the voices of fifteen women, who in their respective worlds, have dialogued with the Fratelli tutti encyclical. The individual contributions offer comments, reflections, resonances, and resumptions of themes, in different literary genres. The contributors are women of different orientations, who are believers of various Christian denominations and different religions. Non-believers are included too, or, as it would be better to consider them, as believers in the human person. However, all of the contributors are “thinkers”, according to the distinction that Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini pointed out as much more significant than that between believers and non-believers, laywomen and religious women; theologians, biblical scholars, writers, philosophers, scientists, and humanists. Many of the writers had met previously, but more than just a few “met” for the first time between the covers of the book. This composite choir is the result of the adhesion to a proposal initially launched to a large group of Catholic women theologians, which then matured into the perspective of an enlargement in an ecumenical, interreligious and intercultural sense, in tune with the universalistic afflatus of the encyclical. To note is a characteristic of the proposal which was its openness. The initiative, commencing from the recognition of the importance of the encyclical, had the declared intention of opening an interlocution with it on the part of women, who would enhance it, rethink and resume its core content starting from their skills and female experience of the world. Within the sharing of this basic orientation, each woman who adhered to the project was free to write on the themes and in the manner most congenial to her.

From the outset, it was clear -and shared by all- that there would be no project within which to place the contributions. This was not a comfortable choice, but rather a risky one in some respects.  After all, it could have resulted in a collection that was not only rich in differences and variety, but also fragmentary and inconsistent, and lack a reference point that would have given it unity despite the non-uniformity of styles, interests and views. However, the positive aspect was that in this way a free voice could be given to contributors, which permitted them to interact autonomously with the encyclical’s solicitations. For this reason, the book does not have curators as such; instead, it has two editors, that is, two of the contributors to the volume who made themselves available to keep the thread going, maintain contact with the authors and the editors, identify the nuclei around which to group the contributions, without intervening on them. The willingness of the Paulines - a publishing house whose directors are women - to get involved in the initiative and to support it, makes this an all-female book. A feminine book in dialogue with all of our brothers and sisters.