Interview with Father Occhetta, general secretary of the “Fratelli Tutti” Foundation

di Francesco Unali

“Being neighbor” is a key theme of the encyclical “Fratelli Tutti”. What connection is there between brotherhood and responsibility?
Responsibility arises from an appeal from the I to a You. Responsibility is nourished by brotherhood, the internal movement is that of compassion.
In the encyclical Fratelli tutti the Pope writes that «to make possible the development of a world community, capable of realizing brotherhood starting from peoples and nations that experience social friendship, the best policy is necessary, placed at the service of the true good common. Unfortunately, however, politics today often takes forms that hinder the path towards a different world" (n. 154).

To nourish fraternity it is necessary to pass through the narrow path of spirituality and culture: In healthcare, for example, we must ask ourselves: "Who is the patient with rights?".
Who has resources to pay for treatment or everyone? In the volume “The Gift and Discernment” (Rizzoli) Mariella Enoc said that it is necessary to evaluate the practical responses that are given, for example, in the way in which a State takes care of immigrants, prisoners, the poor, needy families, abandoned children, the elderly, the refugees.

Can Italy say it respects this new ethic? There is a way out: believing, teaching and testifying that a better world can be built from everyone's responsibility. As remembered by Eleanor Roosevelt, one of the protagonists of Dichiaration of Human Rights of 1948: «We need to start again from small places, close to home, the neighborhood where we live, the school we attend, the factory, the field or the office where we work»,

Those who do research often operate in an area of ​​absolute rationality. What opportunities can the idea of ​​a universal brotherhood that springs from the Christian faith offer scientists?
There are two possible paths: the principle of autonomy in medical ethics grows in dialogue with one's conscience - "the law written by God in the heart of man" (Gaudium et spes, n. 16) - and in adhering to the " free obedience of man to the law of God [which] effectively implies the participation of human reason and will in the wisdom and providence of God" (Veritatis splendor, n. 41). Cultivating moral conscience is a possible way to walk together with all men and women who seek the good and defend the dignity of the person. Furthermore, universal brotherhood can be discovered through scientific research which becomes for the Church a form of evangelization and love, of personalization of medicine and rigor of treatment.
Science is a form of charity and universal brotherhood.

With the proliferation of technologies, even in the care relationship, how important is it becoming to know how to listen to others?
Personalization does not always grow with the technicalization of medicine, which is increasingly concentrated on the action of "curing" (to cure) the disease and less and less on that of "taking care" (to care) of the emotional, relational and psychological world and spiritual of the patient. Care needs faces and hands, smiles and looks, study and qualified research. The etymology of "listening" is linked to the concept of attention. We must pay attention to what the patient is transmitting, beyond the words, observing the way in which he says what he is communicating to us. There are three steps necessary to listen, which means "feeling with the other": first of all that of interior silence, then carefully observing what goes beyond words, finally relating empathically. This is the anthropological threshold where technology cannot reach.